Walt Disney Pictures and the Weinstein Company have signed Thor and Cinderella director Kenneth Branagh to direct Artemis Fowl, according to a report from The Tracking Board. The studios are now said to be seeking a new writer for the project.
The film will be based on the Artemis Fowl novel, written by Eoin Colfer in 2001. Elevator pitched as "Harry Potter meets Die Hard," the novel follows 12-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl II as he implements a scheme to extort gold from the Fairy People to rebuild his family's lost fortune, attracting a lot of unwelcome attention from dangerous characters. The novel was a huge success, expanding into a seven novel series that sees Artemis grow from villain to anti-hero. The series was also adapted into graphic novel format.
The film adaptation has been in one form of development hell or another for about 14 years, going through 10 writers and two previous directors. If the rumor is true, this could indicate a new commitment to the project from Disney and the Weinstein Company.
Disney is also rumored to be looking at Brannagh to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Thor: Ragnarok.