Chan’s the man for ‘Eighty Days’

Thesp to star as Passepartout in remake

Jackie Chan will star in a remake of “Around the World in Eighty Days” with Walden Media on board to finance and Frank Coraci to direct.

Chan could begin lensing the pic in the fall, after he completes Spyglass Entertainment’s “Shanghai Knights,” in which he stars opposite Owen Wilson.

Remake of “Eighty Days,” penned by Michael D. Weiss and David Titcher, is said to be generating distribution interest from most of the majors.

Like the 1956 original, which starred David Niven and was based on Jules Verne’s novel, period pic will be set during the Industrial Revolution, a time of great intellectual restlessness and advancement throughout the world. But the script has been significantly revised.

Emphasis in the new version shifts to Passepartout (Chan), who after stealing a valuable jade Buddha seeks refuge with London gentleman inventor Phileas Fogg. The role of Fogg, made famous by Niven, has yet to be cast.

As in the original, the crux of the story is Fogg’s bet with members of his club that a man can traverse the globe in 80 days. Revision has Passepartout teaching Fogg to open his mind to the different cultures he encounters en route to winning his bet. Passepartout guides and defends Fogg on his journey — an area in which Chan no doubt will exploit his athleticism.

Coraci helmed Adam Sandler starrers “The Wedding Singer” and “The Waterboy.”

Walden declined comment on the “Eighty Days” pact. The Gotham shingle recently announced that next year, Disney will release its large-format 3-D pic “Ghosts of the Abyss,” directed by James Cameron. The company’s first full-length feature, “Holes,” based on Louis Sachar’s Newbery Award-winning novel, is in production with Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and Shia Le Beouf toplining.

Walden soon begins lensing “I Am David,” the adaptation of Ann Holm’s novel, with “Freaks and Geeks” creator Paul Feig writing and directing. Company also is making the first live-action film adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” book series, beginning with “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”