Los Angeles-based productionand distribution outfit Mandate Pictures has greenlit Mr Magorium's WonderEmporium, its second project bywriter Zach Helm following Stranger Than Fiction, with Natalie Portman in talks to star.

Mandate will fully finance and handle worldwide sales on the picture, whichmarks Helm's directorial debut and centres on a magical toy shop, believing inthe unbelievable, and carrot-infused home decor.

Richard Gladstein will produce through his FilmColony, along with JamesGaravente. Mandate head of production Nathan Kahane and creative executive JimMiller are overseeing development for Mandate.

"We are thrilled to be back in business withZach Helm on another truly original and life-affirming story and grateful thathe has entrusted us again to help bring his magic to screen," Kahane said in astatement.

"It is a testament to Zach's voice that we are in negotiations with Natalie."

"Zach is a unique and talented writer and I'm thrilled to be working with himon what I imagine will be the first of many films he'll be directing,"Gladstein added.

"Natalie's response to the script has been brilliant, and she is the idealactor around whom to build a wonderful ensemble."

Mandate sold the comedy Stranger Than Fiction, which is being directed by Marc Forster, to SonyPictures as part of its recent distribution deal with the studio that includesthe drama Passengers and TheYear Of Wonders.

Another Helm screenplay, TheDisassociate, is being developed forproducer Lindsay Doran.