Jackson & Spielberg Do Tintin Films

“Lord of the Rings” filmmaker Peter Jackson is being lined up to tackle yet another internationally beloved literary property – “Tintin”.

Both the trades report that Jackson and Steven Spielberg would each direct one of three back-to-back installments of the franchise based on Herge’s series of Belgian comics.

What is surprising though is that these will be CG-based, 3D digital motion-capture movies, ala “The Polar Express” and the upcoming “Beowulf.” No word yet on who’ll helm the third. They will be adaptations of three of the 23 books based on the character, but which ones have yet to be revealed.

Kathleen Kennedy, Spielberg and Jackson will serve as producers on the three films to be released through Dreamworks Animation. Jackson’s WETA corporation produced a 20-minute test reel which brings to life the characters.

Jackson told Variety that the aim is “making them look photorealistic; the fibers of their clothing, the pores of their skin and each individual hair. They look exactly like real people –but real Herge people.” Spielberg added “We want Tintin’s adventures to have the reality of a live-action film, and yet Peter and I felt that shooting them in a traditional live-action format would simply not honor the distinctive look of the characters and world that Herge created.”

Whereas superhero comics dominate the American market, in Europe and other areas of the world it has been comics like Tintin and Asterix which have left a far more indelible impression on the last few generations of young adults.

In the comics, Tintin is a young reporter and world traveler who in his time has been to the moon, sided with South American guerillas, taken down Eastern European royal conspiracies, uncovered a lost tribe of Incans and much more.

The books were famous for never speaking down to kids and frequently including adult elements of drug smuggling, murder and politics along with frequent offbeat humor and memorable characters like the low-tempered Captain Haddock or the eccentric Professor Cuthbert Calculus.

Spielberg is a lifelong Tintin fan and first optioned the film rights just before Herge’s death in 1983. Various attempts have been made to bring the property to life on the big screen but lapsed due to other issues.

It’s expected that both will get to work on the project once they wrap up their involvement in both “The Lovely Bones” and the fourth “Indiana Jones” film. Teletext UK reports that Hayden Christensen is already the bookies favourite to land the lead role.