A new feature film starring the late Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip characters is scheduled for release in 2015.

The Iconix Brand Group Inc., based in New York, announced today (Oct. 9) that the animated film, as yet untitled will be produced by Schulz’s son, Craig Schulz of Santa Rosa.

“The screenplay is almost done. We’re working on rewrites today. Obviously, the story is top secret,” Schulz said.

Craig Schulz’s son, Bryan, and Cornelius Uliano have written the screenplay for the film, Schulz said.

“By keeping it in the family, we hope to keep the film true to my Dad’s work, and true to the fans,” Schulz added.

Voice casting has not begun yet.

“We’ll probably be looking for child actors,” Schulz said. “We’ll probably not do the celebrity voices like everybody else does.”

Iconix owns 80 percent of Peanuts Worldwide and the Schulz family owns the rest.  They bought the brand for $175 million from E.W. Scripps Co. in April, 2010.

Twentieth Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios have been chosen by the Schulz family to distribute, produce and animate the new “Peanuts” movie.

The film will be directed by Steve Marino, who co-directed “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who” and “Ice Age: Continental Drift.”

“I started this process in 2005, as a much smaller project,” Schulz said. “It just grew and grew.”

Charles Schulz, who moved to Sonoma County in 1958, died in 2000 in Santa Rosa, after writing and drawing the “Peanuts” comic strip for nearly 50 years.

At its height, the “Peanuts” strip ran in as many as 2,800 newspapers, and reprints still run in some 1,800 papers, including The Press Democrat.

The comic strip inspired nearly 50 animated television specials, two brief animated TV series and four previous feature films, Schulz said.

“The last one was in 1980,” he added. “It was called ‘Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back).’”

The year 2015 will mark the 65th anniversary of the debut of the “Peanuts” comic strip and the 50th anniversary of the landmark television special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

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