Weintraub bringing character back to bigscreen

Warner Bros. and producer Jerry Weintraub are bringing Tarzan back to the bigscreen.

The studio is developing a new take on the Edgar Rice Burroughs-created character. Studio is negotiating with Guillermo del Toro to direct.

John Collee, who wrote “Master and Commander: Far Side of the World” and most recently scripted the WB animated hit “Happy Feet,” is negotiating to write the screenplay.

Weintraub will produce through his Jerry Weintraub Prods. banner.

In the years since Burroughs first introduced the loincloth-clad character in book form in 1914, Tarzan has headlined live action and animated films, as well as radio and TV shows.

Del Toro, who grew up reading Spanish-language translations of those books, feels that the classic themes are still compelling, and that there is new ground to cover in the Tarzan mythology by turning back to the original Burroughs prose.

“I’d love to create a new version that is still a family movie, but as edgy as I can make it,” Del Toro said. “There are strong themes of survival of a defenseless child left behind in the most hostile environment.”

Deals are still being worked out, but Del Toro sparked to the chance to collaborate with Collee.

“John will be writing it alone, as I’ll be in production on ‘Hellboy 2′ and pursuing writing projects of my own,” Del Toro said. “He’s got a great sense of adventure and the wilderness.”

Del Toro, whose new film “Pan’s Labyrinth” opens Dec. 29, is repped by ICM and managed by Gary Ungar. Collee is repped by CAA.

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