Fox, Regency slot helmer, Chipettes for the 'Squeakuel'


Betty Thomas has signed on to direct "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel," Fox 2000 and Regency's follow-up to the surprise 2007 hit featuring the lovable CGI- animated singing rodents.

Although plot details are being kept under wraps, the new movie will introduce the Chipmunks' female counterparts, the Chipettes.

Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney are returning to respectively voice the parts of troublemaker Alvin, intellectual Simon and chubby Theodore. It is unclear whether Jason Lee is returning. Casting of the Chipettes is under way.

Writer deals are being finalized.

Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and Janice Karman are producing. Karen Rosenfelt is executive producing.

Erin Siminoff is overseeing for Fox 2000.

The first "Alvin" movie grossed more than $360 million worldwide. Thomas, repped by CAA, most recently helmed "John Tucker Must Die" and worked with animals in "Doctor Dolittle." (partialdiff)