Kenneth Branagh to direct Disney version of Artemis Fowl adventures
Kenneth Branagh will direct the Disney adaptation of Eoin Colfer's hugely popular Artemis Fowl book.
Belfast-born Branagh, who directed Thor and Cinderella, will be joined by Dublin playwright Conor McPherson who will write the screenplay.
Former primary school teacher Colfer, from Wexford, is delighted the project is finally "getting going" after spending several years in "development hell".
However, he is "trying not to get too excited".
"It's a real double-whammy of Irish talent right there and it couldn't be in better hands," he said in a Twitter video post.
"If this finally goes ahead, it will have been worth the wait. Having said that, we've all been here before regarding this particular project, so while I'm very happy, I'm also cautiously trying not to get too excited.
"Good news, we should all celebrate."
Colfer's books tell of the exploits of Artemis Fowl, a 12-year-old multi-millionaire and criminal mastermind.
The author described the series as "Die Hard with fairies".
Jim Sheridan was originally cited as the director. Harvey Weinstein will produce while Judy Hofflund, who has worked on Panic Room and Drop Dead Gorgeous, will act as executive producer.
Branagh has become one of Hollywood's most bankable directors since working on Marvel Comics' multi-million-dollar Thor franchise.
He is also a highly regarded actor who has been nominated for an Academy Award on five occasions.
The classically trained Shakespearean actor also starred in hit films including Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Valkyrie.
In 2012, he was knighted for his work and his contribution to film.
Branagh is currently on board to direct a remake of Murder on the Orient Express for Fox.
McPherson, a graduate of UCD, has written screenplays for Irish films including The Eclipse and The Actors. He began producing plays as a member of the UCD Drama Society.
Since then he has written several acclaimed stage plays including The Weir and The Seafarer.
One of his most acclaimed works, The Night Alive, will be staged as part of this year's Dublin Theatre Festival and is predicted to be a sell-out.