Helmer aglow for 'Larklight'

Shekhar Kapur has signed on to develop and direct "Larklight," a period fantasy Di Novi Pictures is producing for Warner Bros.

Kapur, who most recently directed and wrote "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," is working with writer Steven Knight ("Eastern Promises") to adapt Philip Reeve's novel.

The 2006 book, set in a Victorian-era alternate universe in which mankind has been exploring the solar system since the time of Isaac Newton, revolves around a brother and sister who team with a band of renegade space pirates to save the world from destruction at the hands of a madman.

"It's a $200 million project, probably the most expensive film I've made and will ever make," Kapur told the Indo-Asian News Service during the weekend.

Denise Di Novi is producing, while Alison Greenspan is exec producing.

Last week, Kapur signed on to take over the director's chair for the late Anthony Minghella for his segment of the shorts ensemble "New York, I Love You."

He has several projects in development, including "Solace" at New Line and "Paani," a futuristic film set in Mumbai centering on the scarcity of water.

Kapur is repped by CAA.

Borys Kit reported from Los Angeles; Nyay Bushan reported from New Delhi.