Lerman bottles 'Lightning' role

Takes lead in Columbus-helmed fantasy; Jackson's his new best friend

Logan Lerman will star as the title character in "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief," Fox 2000's Chris Columbus-directed adaptation of Rick Riordan's children's novel.

Brandon T. Jackson also has signed on to co-star in the fantasy-adventure, which the studio is eyeing as a potential franchise.

The story follows Greek god Poseidon's 12-year-old half-human son, Percy, on a quest across modern America to save his mother, return Zeus' stolen lightning bolt and prevent a war among the gods.

Jackson will play Percy's best friend, Grover Underwood, a satyr (half-goat, half-human) with whom he shares a psychic link. The character is in his early 30s but is about 16 mentally because satyrs mature half as quickly as humans in Riordan's novel.

The book, which has appeared on the New York Times' best-seller list for 85 weeks, is the first in a series.

An April start in Vancouver is being prepped, with Columbus and his 1492 Pictures partner Michael Barnathan producing with Karen Rosenfelt.

Columbus and Craig Titley wrote the screenplay.

Carla Hacken is overseeing for Fox 2000.

Lerman, repped by Endeavor and Lerman Management, stars opposite Renee Zellweger in "My One and Only," playing a young George Hamilton. He played Christian Bale's son in "3:10 to Yuma."

Jackson, repped by CAA, is best known for playing Alpa Chino in "Tropic Thunder." (partialdiff)
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