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Herek around ‘World’ journey

Helmer eyeing 'Tomb Raider'

Director Stephen Herek (“Mr. Holland’s Opus”) is in talks with Twentieth Century Fox to direct a remake of Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days.” Pic, set in the 19th century, is being produced by Good Machine.

Herek, who recently formed a partnership with producer Toby Jaffe (“Blue Streak”) and will move his shingle from Disney to New Line in the coming months, is still also eyeing “Tomb Raider,” which he has been developing for Paramount with scribes Patrick Massett and John Zinman.

If Herek commits to the Fox pic, the studio will go head-to-head with Warner Bros., which previously announced that Brendan Fraser and Stephen Sommers were attached to another project based on the same source material. Warner Bros. owns the rights to the name, so Fox’s picture will likely be re-titled.

But Fox will be one step ahead: Warner Bros. has not yet developed a script, whereas Fox already has one penned by Mark D. Rosenthal and Larry Konner (“Mercury Rising”). Fox and Good Machine originally developed the project for Ang Lee to helm, but Lee is currently directing “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

If Herek signs, Fox and Good Machine will begin casting immediately.

Herek and Fox were not available for comment.

Endeavor reps Herek.