July 16, 2010

Producers collar pic rights to Koontz’s pet; Winter, Botwick to develop as family comedy

Ralph Winter (“X-Men”) and Terry Botwick have fetched feature rights to Dean Koontz’s Trixie property through their 1019 Entertainment banner and are developing the doggie story as a family comedy.

Stephanie Fitch Groff has been tapped to write the screenplay about Trixie — Koontz’s real-life golden retriever, who’s the subject of his memoir A Big Little Life. The canine is also “author” of Bliss to You and the star of a series of children’s picture books written by Koontz and illustrated by Janet Cleland, the first of which is I, Trixie Who Is Dog.

Trixie was also featured last year in a branded summer promotion in the PetSmart chain with 33 different products for dogs. All author proceeds from Trixie’s ventures are donated to Canine Companions for Independence — the organization from which Koontz adopted Trixie.

The “Trixie” feature will be produced by Winter and Botwick along with 1019 exec Whitney Thomas.

“Stephanie Groff and Ralph, Terry and Whitney so understand the Trixie character that I know I have entrusted my beloved pooch’s reputation to people who will do her proud,” Koontz said.

Groff is also developing romantic comedy “Homewrecker” for 1019 Entertainment.

The deal for Trixie comes five months after Winter and Botwick snagged feature rights to Koontz’s Frankenstein, his bestselling tale of a socially prominent and successful businessman and his super-human original creation in modern-day New Orleans (Daily Variety, Feb. 16).

1019 has several projects in development including Paul Verhoeven’s “The Surrogate,” starring Halle Berry, and action thriller “Man and Wife” in conjunction with Peter Chernin and with Akiva Goldsman directing. The company’s completing “Cool It,” a doc inspired by Bjorn Lomborg, Danish author of 2003’s “The Skeptical Environmentalist.”


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