Next ‘Narnia’ writer tapped

Michael Petroni takes on 'Chronicles'

Michael Petroni has been tapped to write the next installment in “The Chronicles of Narnia” franchise.

Petroni will write “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” for Walden Media and Fox 2000. He will take over for Richard LaGravanese, who penned the most recent draft of the C.S. Lewis novel.

Move signals that Walden is moving full steam ahead on the third chapter in the franchise with its new Narnia studio partner, 20th Century Fox. In late December, the project seemed in doubt after Disney decided to pull the plug on co-financing the pic.

Walden is eyeing a summer start date for a holiday 2010 release through the Fox Walden label.

Petroni landed the “Narnia” gig based on his recent work for Fox 2000, including a rewrite of the Kevin Lima directing vehicle “Afterlife,” an adaptation of Markus Zusak’s novel “The Book Thief” and a rewrite of the Julia Roberts starrer “Daniel Isn’t Talking.”

Project also reteams Petroni with “Narnia” producer Mark Johnson. The scribe adapted the Australian novel “The Long Green Shore” for Johnson, Intermedia and Russell Crowe.