'COOKIES & MILK,' ANIMATED SERIES BASED ON THE FORTHCOMING BOOK BY SHAWN AMOS, IN THE WORKS AT DISNEY FROM LAURENCE FISHBURNE'S CINEMA GYPSY PRODUCTIONS AND JESSE JAMES FILMS
"Cookies & Milk," an original animated series based on the forthcoming middle grade novel of the same name by Shawn Amos, is in development at Disney Branded Television's animation studio, Disney Television Animation. The executive producers are Laurence Fishburne and Helen Sugland of Cinema Gypsy Productions (ABC's "black-ish" and Disney Channel's upcoming "Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur"), Jesse Murphy and James Sears Bryant of Jesse James Films, and Shawn Amos. Brian Egeston ("The Game," the upcoming film "On A Wing and A Prayer") is set as co-executive producer and story editor.
The debut novel is semi-autobiographical, inspired by the childhood of Shawn Amos, a blues musician and the son of iconic Wallace "Wally" Amos Jr., founder of the Famous Amos chocolate chip cookie brand.
In making the announcement, Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, said, "It's an absolute coup to bring Shawn Amos' heartfelt, humorous book to Disney television screens and, with the guiding vision, credibility and track record of our Cinema Gypsy and Jesse James Films creative team, we're looking forward to telling this authentic and relatable story about belonging, self-acceptance and forgiveness."
Laurence Fishburne and Helen Sugland of Cinema Gypsy said, "We're thrilled to be collaborating with Shawn Amos, Ayo Davis and the talented team at Disney Branded Television. Shawn's semi-autobiographical novel, 'Cookies & Milk,' is partially based on his own experiences growing up as the son of Wally 'Famous' Amos. This humorous and heartwarming exploration of summer fun and friendship, seen through the eyes of a young Black boy being raised by his divorced father, is full of joy, self-discovery and a whole lot of unconditional love."
The "Cookies & Milk" teleplay follows the summer adventures of harmonica-playing middle schooler Ellis Johnson as he begrudgingly helps his wildly optimistic and quite possibly magical father open the world's first cookie shop in 1970s Hollywood, California.
Jesse James Films recently acquired the rights to the book, which received a six-figure advance in a two-book deal from the publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. "Cookies & Milk" is set to be published in Spring 2022.
In a joint statement, Jesse Murphy and James Sears Bryant said, "We are so excited to have found the right home for this show with Disney Television Animation, Laurence and Helen. Shawn has created such a beautiful reimagining of his childhood in a narrative that we hope will universally connect with audiences on and off the page."
Shawn Amos said, "What a dream to see this Black kid from Hollywood become a Disney character. I wrote 'Cookies & Milk' for my son to help him understand his family, his culture and himself. I hope kids of all colors will see something of their own selves in Ellis. I'm so grateful to Helen, Jesse and Laurence for championing my story. I know it's in good hands with them and the deeply creative folks at Disney."
This series greenlight marks the second animated project at Disney for Cinema Gypsy, which has a first-look deal with ABC Signature and is in production on "Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur" for Disney Channel.
Laurence Fishburne and Cinema Gypsy Productions are represented by CAA, Landmark Artists Management, and attorneys Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & Dang. Jesse James Films is represented by 3 Arts Entertainment and Crowe & Dunlevy. Brian Egeston is represented by manager Adam Robinson at The Rookery, The Gersh Agency and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher LLP. Shawn Amos is represented by Barnes & Thornburg, LLP.
About Cinema Gypsy
Cinema Gypsy Productions, led by Helen Sugland and renowned actor Laurence Fishburne, was founded in 2000 with an eye toward developing projects that highlight cultural, racial and gender diversity issues in America. They are the Executive Producers of "black-ish," the Emmy-nominated and NAACP Award-winning ABC show, as well as its spinoffs, "Grown-ish" and "Mixed-ish." In 2017, Cinema Gypsy Productions produced the hit podcast series, "Bronzeville," about Chicago's center of Black culture in the 1940s. It also produced numerous nominated and award-winning projects including: "Thurgood" (HBO), "Five Fingers" (Lionsgate), "Akeelah and the Bee" (Lionsgate), "Once in the Life" (Lionsgate), "Always Out Numbered" (HBO), "Hoodlum" (United Artists), "Miss Evers Boys" (HBO), "Madiba" (BET) and "Snowy Day" (Amazon Studios). Its next endeavor is Marvel's "Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur," an animated series based on the popular comic book series, which recently completed production on season 1 to premiere in early 2023.
About Jesse James Films
Jesse Murphy and James Sears Bryant founded Jesse James Films, a production entity that focuses on bringing engaging intellectual property to the screen with an emphasis on diversity-driven content. Murphy was formerly the head of development overseeing Marlon Wayans' and Rick Alvarez's term deal at Universal Television. Bryant is the founding partner of the National Litigation Law Group (NLLG) and former President of ProServ Basketball - a division of ProServ.
About Disney Branded Television
Disney Branded Television encompasses the creative storytellers and production and content marketing teams responsible for Disney-branded television series, movies and other programming spanning live-action, animated and unscripted formats. The group fuels the Disney+ streaming platform and Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior linear networks with content geared toward kids, tweens, teens and families, with stories that are imaginative, aspirational and reflective of their world and experiences. Projects include: "The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder," "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series," "Monsters at Work," "The Mysterious Benedict Society" and "Marvel's Spidey and his Amazing Friends." Disney Branded Television has created some of the most iconic and award-winning properties and franchises, including Peabody Award winners "Doc McStuffins" and "The Owl House"; Emmy Award winners "Big City Greens" and "Elena of Avalor"; the beloved "Mickey Mouse" cartoon shorts plus the Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) franchise, comprised of more than 100 titles.