Universal Wins Bidding War for 'Unicorn Executions' (Exclusive)

"We're the Millers" helmer Rawson Thurber is attached to direct the pic, which is based on Steve Breen's upcoming book of illustrations.

Universal Pictures has won a bidding war for the film rights to a comedy package based on Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Steve Breen's upcoming book of illustrations, Unicorn Executions and Other Crazy Stuff My Kids Make Me Draw.

Rawson Thurber, who directed New Line's hit comedy We're the Millers, is attached to direct while Simon Rich is slated to write the script. CAA packaged the project.

The project drew interest from several studios on Thursday and Friday before finally going to Universal, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

Scott Stuber (Ted, Identity Thief, A Million Ways to Die in the West) will produce the film under his Universal-based Bluegrass Films banner. Nick Nesbitt brought the project to Bluegrass and will oversee on behalf of the company.

Senior vp production Erik Baiers and creative executive Sara Scott will oversee the project for the studio.

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Unicorn Executions is a collection of illustrations drawn by Breen, an editorial cartoonist, who caved in at the outlandish demands of his children. They range from "Betty White punching out a silverback gorilla" to "Disney princesses aged 40 years."

The book, set to be published in May 2014, has no narrative, but Rich, an experienced writer for Saturday Night Live, came up with a take that brings the pictures together.

Breen, Thurber and Rich are all represented by CAA. Breen also is represented by Teresa Kietlinski of Prospect Agency. Thurber is repped by attorney Gretchen Rush and Stuber is represented by Craig Jacobson, both of Hansen, Jacobson. Rich is represented by Lee Eastman of Eastman & Eastman.

Email: Rebecca.Ford@THR.com
Twitter: @Beccamford