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The Hollywood Reporter

Fox makes a deal with ‘Devil’

By Tatiana Siegel
March 2, 2007

20th Century Fox has acquired Steve Bencich and Ron Friedman’s pitch “The Devil You Know” for mid-six figures against just under $1 million.

Shawn Levy will produce through his Fox-based 21 Laps shingle alongside Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein.

Bencich and Friedman, who penned “Open Season,” “Chicken Little” and “Brother Bear,” will adapt “Devil” from the children’s book by Nathan Hale. Despite Bencich and Friedman’s animation pedigree, “Devil” will be a live-action film.

The book revolves around the Fell family and the little devil that lives in their house. The Fells grow impatient with the demon, who does all sorts of bad things. When the prim and proper Ms. Phisto mysteriously appears and offers to remove the little devil and take his place, the Fells wind up with more than they bargained for.

Plot details of Bencich and Friedman’s pitch are being kept under wraps, but the family comedy is described as in the vein of Fox blockbuster “Night at the Museum.” 21 Laps’ Tom McNulty brought the project into the shingle, which also ushered in “Museum.”

Fox’s Emma Watts is shepherding the film for the studio.

Gotham’s credits include the upcoming children’s fantasy “The Spiderwick Chronicles” for Paramount Pictures.

Bencich and Friedman have several projects in development, including “Gullible’s Travels” at DreamWorks Pictures, “The Missing Link” at Walt Disney Pictures and “Treehouse” at Warner Bros. Pictures. They are repped by Metropolitan Talent Agency, Gotham Group and attorney Rob Szymanski.