Tom Jacobson has signed on to produce Walt Disney’s upcoming “Mighty Joe Young,” joining producer Ted Hartley and director Ron Underwood in what will be one of the studio’s “event” films of 1998.

The pic is scheduled to start shooting May 19, with locations in Hawaii and the remainder of the shoot in L.A.

Aping a classic

Picture is based on the 1949 classic RKO movie about a 15-foot-all gorilla. The new version is about a 21-year-old woman, Jill, living in the African jungle, who is persuaded to bring a 15-foot-tall gorilla she has tamed to an animal preserve in the U.S. But the ape feels trapped, and eventually escapes and rampages through Los Angeles, as Jill and a zoologist rush to save his life.

The screenplay is based on a draft by Larry Konner and Mark Rosenthal. Wolfgang Petersen and Gail Katz are exec producers, and Gary Stutman and Mark Lisson are co-executive producers.

Pic is among the projects that Jacobson has at Touchstone and the Walt Disney Co. since he departed 20th Century Fox as president of worldwide production in 1995. Among the others are “Gargoyles,” being written by Dean Devlin; “The Black Box,” being rewritten by Nick Meyer; “Mandrake the Magician,” being written by Josh Richmond; and “The Ladykillers,” being written by Max Adams.

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