'Puss in Boots' enlists writer

TV scribe Tom Wheeler to pen 'Shrek' spinoff

What's that about cat-scratch fever? Well, TV scribe Tom Wheeler's got it.

Wheeler has been hired to write the "Shrek" spinoff "Puss in Boots" for DreamWorks Animation, a stand-alone feature foray for the feline assassin/swordsman voiced by Antonio Banderas in the two most recent "Shrek" films.

Michelle Raimo is producing.

The "Shrek" franchise has ballooned into a multibillion-dollar property, with three feature films grossing more than $2 billion worldwide in theaters, tens of millions of DVDs sold and merchandising in every toy store. A fourth feature film, "Shrek Goes Fourth," is due in theaters May 21, 2010.

The Puss in Boots character, originally hired to knock off the grumpy green ogre, debuted in "Shrek 2," which is the 10th-highest-grossing movie of all time. He went on to become part of Shrek's entourage.

Chris Miller, who added voices and dialogue to previous "Shrek" installments and co-directed and co-wrote the third movie, wrote an earlier draft of the "Puss" screenplay.

Wheeler, a client of WMA and Benderspink, has "Cutlass Island" in development at 21 Laps Entertainment for New Regency and "The Arcanum" set up at Gold Circle Films with Randall Wallace attached to direct. He recently finished shooting the pilot "Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas" for ABC.