Movie ideas and projects come in many forms. A script, a life story, a sentence on a napkin.
Now New Line has bought one based on an illustration, and it comes with Dwayne Johnson attached to star and Beau Flynn on board to produce.
The picture in question was drawn by Alex Panagopoulos, a Greek software engineer turned fantasy artist. It features a little girl asleep in bed while a small brown teddy bear — brandishing a laughably small wooden sword and shield — hold an enormous, fanged monster at bay. And in the fashion of a motivational poster, a caption reads “Teddy Bears: Protecting Innocent Children from Monsters Under the Bed Since 1902. (1902 is the year the first teddy bear was invented by Morris Michtom, who was inspired by a political cartoon featuring President Theodore Roosevelt and a bear he refused to shoot.)
Hiram Garcia, a former assistant to Johnson, found the illustration and brought it to Flynn’s FlynnPictureCo and New Line. The company, Flynn and Johnson together made the 2012 family adventure movie Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Garcia was an associate producer on the film, which made almost $328 million worldwide.
Johnson, Flynn and Garcia will produce what is tentatively called Teddy Bear. Michael Disco and Sam Brown will oversee for New Line while Adam Yoelin shepherds for FlynnPictureCo.
No writer is attached and the story’s take is being kept secret but New Line is hoping to launch a big four-quadrant franchise. They no doubt were enboldened by last summer's megahit bear comedy Ted, which made more than $500 million worldwide for Universal. (Though this project will be much different in tone.)
Johnson has a big year ahead of him. The actor formerly known as The Rock next stars in Snitch from Summit, followed by the spring releases G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain, and then he has The Fast and The Furious 6 this summer.
He is repped by WME and Gang Tyre.