Scribe team's deal right on 'Q'

'Toy Story' duo to produce, share in backend profits with Starz Media

Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen have sold their original screenplay "Q" to Starz Media Animation. In a rare deal for screenwriters, the "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "Toy Story" scribes also will partake in backend profits as well as merchandising and ancillary revenue.

Sokolow and Cohen will produce and oversee all elements of production, and Starz Animation head David Steinberg will oversee for the company.

"For us, 'Q' really is a chance to put our feet to the fire," Sokolow said. "A bias against screenwriters is that they are never really in the firing line of production and moviemaking. But I think it's really more a case that the system prefers screenwriters to be disposable as a movie is produced and marketed, the end result most times being bitterness or flippancy."

The "Q" arrangement allows the creators to maintain a full-immersion experience, something they've been pursuing in the animation realm for years. Inspired by "Don Quixote," the project centers on marionettes who escape from their Central Park theater and embark on a fanstastical adventure.

"Here, we finally get a chance to bet on ourselves," Sokolow said. "To take all our experience and expertise of boxoffice-driven storytelling and go all in. If we fail, we have no one else to blame. But if we succeed, we will know that 'Q' is our movie told our way, and we can be rewarded appropriately. What writer wouldn't want that chance?"

Added Cohen: " 'Q' was written and designed to brand a company and create strong archetypical characters that could be a clear example of what the Alec and Joel oeuvre is. We are hopeful that this will be a very long and fruitful marriage of our kind of storytelling and (Starz's) ability to actually design and make a movie for a reasonable price."

Sokolow and Cohen, who are repped by CAA and the Gotham Group, are writing the screenplay for "Walter the Farting Dog" at Fox for the Jonas Brothers to star and the Farrelly brothers to direct. They also have "Anubis Tapestry" in development at Fox Animation. (partialdiff)