Stuart Beattie to write script for WB, Weintraub

Stephen Sommers is in negotiations to direct a bigscreen version of “Tarzan” for Warner Bros. and producer Jerry Weintraub.

Sommers will also co-write the “Tarzan” script with Stuart Beattie. Sommers directed the recently wrapped “G.I. Joe” for Paramount, with Beattie penning the final draft of the screenplay.

Warner Bros. and Weintraub have been developing “Tarzan” since 2003, when John August was hired to pen a new take on the Edgar Rice Burroughs-created character. Two years ago, the studio was negotiating with Guillermo del Toro to direct.

Burroughs’ “Tarzan of the Apes” was written in 1912. Onscreen, the ape-man character became strongly identified with Johnny Weismuller during the 1930s in MGM’s series of features.

Warner Bros. put the character back on the bigscreen with its 1984 pic “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes,” starring Christopher Lambert. Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow also made 1998’s “Tarzan and the Lost City,” starring Casper Van Dien. In 2003, Warner Bros. TV produced a short-lived “Tarzan” skein for the WB Network.

Beattie’s other credits include “Collateral,” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming “Australia.”

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