Tunes, tentpole for helmer


With his fantasy comedy "Bedtime Stories" opening on Christmas Day, Adam Shankman is lining up two movie projects: Disney's "Bob the Musical" will take the helmer back to his musical roots, while "The 8th Voyage of Sinbad" will be his biggest film yet in terms of budget and scope.

"Bob" is a musical comedy to be produced by Benderspink's Chris Bender and JC Spink and Contrafilm's Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson. The Mike Bender-written script follows a mild-mannered man who suddenly hears the "inner song" of people's hearts after being struck in the head.

The project reunites Shankman with Marc Shaiman, his composer for "Hairspray" and the recent Internet video "Prop 8: The Musical." Shaiman is writing the music and lyrics for "Bob."

Shankman also is in negotiations to develop and direct "Sinbad," Columbia's retelling of the classic myth, which it envisions as a bid-budget tentpole. Neal Moritz is producing through his Original Film banner.

The story revolves around sailor Sinbad and his crew, who are marooned off the coast of China and embark on a quest to find Aladdin's lamp. Along the way they meet a beautiful empress and do battle with fantastic creatures and a rebellious Chinese general who threatens the kingdom. Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Sellek Wibberley wrote the most recent script draft.

Shankman hopes to kick-start both projects, which have been stuck in neutral. Mark Waters previously was on board to direct "Bob." Both John Singleton and Rob Cohen have been attached to helm the long-gestating "Sinbad," with Keanu Reeves and Vin Diesel attached to star.

Shankman, repped by UTA, has been steadily climbing up the director's rung in terms of budget and scope. The choreographer-turned-helmer's early flicks included "The Wedding Planner" and "A Walk to Remember." (partialdiff)