LA-based independent production outfit Hippofilms has optioned rights to the life story of late British writer/actor Graham Chapman, a founder member of Monty Python. David Eric Brenner of Hippofilms is to direct and co-script the film.

The film will address Chapman's early years at Cambridge and medical school, his struggles with alcohol, the Monty Python years, his ground-breaking stance on homosexuality and his exploits with John Cleese, Keith Moon, Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr among others. Hippofilm plans to start production of the film in London in Nov 2002.

"The Graham Chapman Archives has granted access to never-before-seen

material, including portions of Chapman's unpublished memoirs and works,"

said Brenner. "But the access to Chapman's private diary is still under

negotiation. The diary is pretty hot."

"David is an extremely talented director and we know Graham's story is in good hands with him," said Jim Yoakum, director of the Graham Chapman Archives, who negotiated the deal with Hippofilms. The archives are represented by literary agent Susan Schulman, Brenner is represented by attorney Jeff Silberman.

Brenner's first film Rent Control, which he also wrote, stars Melissa Joan Hart, Ryan Browning and Carmen Electra.