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'Toy Story 3' Writer to Take on Disney's Snow White Project (Exclusive)

Michael Arndt
David Strick
Michael Arndt

While Universal and Relativity duke it out to see who will be the first out of the gate with a Snow White movie, Disney is taking the stealthy road to its more elevated project, Snow and the Seven.

Michael Arndt, who just last week received an Oscar nomination for his work on Toy Story 3, is in negotiations to work on the script. Production designer John Myhre, an Oscar winner for his work on Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago who’s working on Disney’s new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, has been brought on board to begin creating the worlds of the fairy tale, which is set in 19th century China.

Yes, China.

The unique project, which Disney has been developing since 2002, centers on a 19th century Englishwoman who returns to her Hong Kong home for her father's funeral, only to discover that her stepmother is plotting against her. She escapes to mainland China, finding solace among a rogue band of seven international warriors.

Francis Lawrence has been on board to direct since early on, even as writers such as Michael Chabon, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, and Jayson Rothwell took cracks at the script, originally written by Scott Elder and Josh HarmonAndrew Gunn is producing.

With all systems go for Snow, the big question is Natalie Portman’s involvement. Since last year, Portman has been circling to star, but her pregnancy now raises questions of whether she will be ready to undertake such a physically intense tentpole, which will feature several different fighting styles. Whether she’s in or not, Disney will easily attract another top star.

Arndt is repped by Verve.