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Artemis Fowl movie nabs Thor director Kenneth Branagh

Cinderella and Thor director Kenneth Branagh will reportedly helm the big-screen adaptation of Artemis Fowl, based on the wildly popular book series.

Fresh off a successful, live-action adaptation of Cinderella that earned more than $542 million worldwide, Branagh is expected to serve as both director and producer on the Artemis Fowl movie, according to The Tracking Board. The series follows a young, brilliant criminal mastermind who becomes entangled in the world of fairies and other supernatural creatures while attempting to restore his family’s fortune.

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Author Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl first hit shelves in 2001 and kicked off a bestselling series that eventually spanned eight novels. Initially billed as “Die Hard with fairies,” the series followed its young, titular antihero through various adventures that had him fighting with and against a menagerie of magical creatures in furtherance of his criminal enterprises. The final book in the series, Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian, was released in 2012.

A big-screen adaptation of the series has been in the works almost since the first book was published, but had been shunted from one creative team to another as the rights changed hands and studio dynamics shifted over the last decade or so. This latest iteration of the project is set be to developed by Walt Disney Studios and The Weinstein Company, and the studio is now in search of a writer to revise (or possibly rewrite) the script for the film.

An unconfirmed 2013 report indicated that the Artemis Fowl movie would be based on the first and second installments of the series, Artemis Fowl and Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident, but it’s uncertain whether that will still be the case with Branagh joining the project.

The most recent draft of the Artemis Fowl script was penned by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix screenwriter Michael Goldenberg.

“This is a special project for me because my children absolutely love this book,” said producer Harvey Weinstein back in 2013 when the project seemed to be moving forward. “This story is for everyone and there is no one better than Disney to make a film that will excite people young and old.”

Branagh is expected to direct another big-screen adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery Murder on the Orient Express before moving on to Artemis Fowl.