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Bob Berney's Picturehouse, WestEnd board The Great Gilly Hopkins

EXCLUSIVE: Bridge to Terabithia writers reunite on young-adult novel; Kathy Bates and Danny Glover among cast; Stephen Herek to direct.

Bob Berney’s recently re-launched Picturehouse has taken US rights to Katherine Paterson adaptation The Great Gilly Hopkins in a deal struck with the producers.

WestEnd is selling international at the EFM.

Stephen Herek (101 Dalmatians) will direct the comedy-drama with William Teitler producing. Kathy Bates and Danny Glover are attached in supporting roles, while Avy Kaufman is casting for the lead.

Paterson’s young adult novel, published in more than 20 territories, follows a wisecracking 11-year old who is moved between foster homes. When she is placed in the home of Maime Trotter, the strangest foster mum yet (Kathy Bates), she fights her way out - but all doesn’t go according to plan.

WestEnd describes the comedy-drama as “Annie meets Bridge to Terabithia”.

The 2007 Disney adaptation of Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia grossed $140m worldwide. As with Bridge, Gilly has been scripted by David Paterson, who will also produce with John Paterson under their Arcady Bay Entertainment banner. Filling out the producing team is executive producer, William Kay.

The US shoot is due for spring 2013.

Picturehouse CEO Berney said: “Stephen Herek and Bill Tietler understand the importance and success of the Katherine Paterson pedigree around the world. The story is heartwarming and true, funny and touching.

“The film will register with young audiences and families because of its authentic approach to the material. We look forward to working with the creative team and West End Films to make this movie a break-out success.”

Industry veteran Berney re-launched US distribution outfit Picturehouse earlier this year, picking up documentary-drama Metallica Through the Never and inking an exclusive output deal with Netflix. He also secured a first-look relationship with Warner Bros. Pictures International for films to which it has international distribution rights.

While at IFC Films and then Newmarket Films, Berney handled the releases of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and The Passion of the Christ as well as Memento and Alfonso Cuaron’s Y Tu Mama Tambien.

During the former incarnation of Picturehouse, he acquired and released the likes Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, Olivier Dahan’s La Vie en Rose and Sergei Bodrov’s Mongol.

At FilmDistrict he released the likes of Insidious and Drive.

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