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Fox Buys ‘Skyward’ Spec From Joe Ballarini Based On True Story Of Families Trying To Escape Over Wall To Freedom

Deadline logo Deadline 1/26/2017 Anita Busch
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EXCLUSIVE: Talk about a timely acquisition. Given the environment in the country right now with talk about building walls, Fox just picked up the Joe Ballarini spec Skyward about two families trying to escape to freedom over a wall. Producer Karen Rosenfelt and her Sunswept Entertainment has the project which is the true story about two families in 1979 who secretly build a homemade hot air balloon in their garage in a plan to escape over the Berlin Wall. The project, which is said to be in a similar vein of Argo mixed with a bit of The King’s Speech, is about courage, risk, freedom and the complicated, but loving relationships among family members.

Rosenfelt, a one-time studio executive, was a producer the successful Twilight series as well as on the critically acclaimed The Book Thief and also the very profitable $20M+ budgeted Me Before You which ended up grossing $207.9M worldwide.

Fox exec Kira Goldberg brought the project into Fox in what we heard was a pre-empt after a competitive situation.

Skyward is just the latest in a number of projects that Ballarini has set up around town with A-list producers or talent. He is also adapting Imagine Agents at Fox for Michael Keaton attached for Anonymous Content. He is also adapting Kate Milford’s best-selling novel Green Glass House at Paramount for producer Ian Bryce (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers: Age Of Extinction) and he is adapting the children’s book that he authored Babysitting’s Guide to Killing Monsters for Monticeto Pictures and Walden Media.

He is repped by Paradigm and the law firm of McKuin Frankel Whitehead.

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