Julia Roberts has just ingratiated herself to pretween girls the world over.
The erstwhile Pretty Woman has teamed up with the makers of the enduringly popular American Girl Collection dolls and is set to bring a series of live-action films featuring the characters to the big screen.
The Oscar winner's production company, Red Om Films--so titled, albeit backwards, after her married name--has teamed up with Walden Media and Goldsmith-Thomas Productions to produce the film, a get that was six years in the making.
"When [we] pursued the rights to the American Girl franchise six years ago, we knew that the American Girls characters and their compelling stories would translate beautifully to film," Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas said.
The untitled first film will focus on Kit Kittredge, a girl growing up in Cincinnati in 1934, during the Great Depression.
"We found a terrific partner to bring Kit's stories to life," said American Girl president Ellen Brothers.
For those who don't know or have never been an eight-year-old girl, the American Girl dolls are already a franchise. The original collection comprised eight dolls each set in a specific historical period in U.S. history and has a series of books written about their fictional adventures. Through the books--and the countless readily-available accoutrements--the readers learn universal life lessons as well as some history. Each doll sells for $87.
Kit, who, having been introduced in 2000, is one of the newest additions to the stable of characters.
Since Mattel acquired the company, the toy giant has expanded the franchise to include a contemporary line of dolls and a series of plush baby dolls. The company also publishes American Girl magazine and runs the American Girl Place stores.
While the untitled American Girl film marks the dolls' big-screen debut, Roberts has previously teamed with Walden Media and Goldsmith-Thomas Productions for a trio of made-for-TV movies based on the characters.
In 2004, they released their first TV movie, Samantha: An American Girl Holiday, set in the Victorian era of 1904. The following year, they covered the colonial saga with Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, and their most recent effort, the WWII-set Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front, is set to premiere on the Disney Channel this fall.
The film is the latest kid-friendly project on Roberts' plate. Making sure that Phinnaeus and Hazel have plenty to watch, Roberts has given voice to the titular spider in the big-screen adaptation of Charlotte's Web, due out in December, and can be heard in the CGI flick The Ant Bully, opening Friday.
While no distribution deal has been set for the American Girl movie, production is expected to kick off next year.