Sommers takes Tarzan out for a swing


He's already tackled Huckleberry Finn and Mowgli, so let's see what Stephen Sommers can do with Tarzan.

The "Jungle Book" director is in negotiations with Warner Bros. to bring a new version of the Edgar Rice Burroughs classic "Tarzan, Lord of the Apes" to the big screen. "Collateral" screenwriter Stu Beattie will pen the project with Sommers.

Jerry Weintraub is producing through his Jerry Weintraub Prods. Jessica Goodman and Jesse Ehrman will oversee for the studio.

Guillermo del Toro had been attached to direct a script written by John Collee ("Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World") when the project was announced two years ago. But "The Mummy" director will get his shot now that del Toro is committed to a four-year stint choreographing dwarves in New Zealand for the MGM/Warner Bros. two-fer of "The Hobbit."

With the first three "Mummy" films and "Van Helsing," the WMA-repped Sommers has become a connoisseur of the big-budget, effects-driven spectacle. He recently finished shooting the summer 2009 Paramount tentpole "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra," which Beattie came in to write for him.

Beattie and Sommers do not plan to work from the original 1914 Burroughs tome or any previous film. A new approach is in the works, though more details beyond that are being kept under wraps.

Beattie, repped by CAA, has "Australia" coming out in November, which he co-wrote with director Baz Luhrmann. (partialdiff)