Wanted: A guide for a geologic adventure. Must be conversant in 3-D.


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Who will lead the journey to the center of the earth?

That’s a question that’s surrounded the sequel to the Brendan Fraser 3-D adventure for a while now.

Fraser and co-star Josh Hutcherson are coming back in the new movie. And an original script from one Richard Outten that combines elements from ‘Gulliver’s Travels,’ ‘Treasure Island’ and other classic stories form at least part of the basis of the movie’s story.


But studio New Line has been seeking a director ever since Eric Brevig left to go work on ‘Yogi Bear,’ another 3-D movie, across the lot at Warner Bros. Brevig was in the director’s chair for the first ‘Journey’ and was initially brought back to direct and even work on the script for the second before he left to fill his pic-a-nic basket. Among the catches: the studio willl need someone fluent in 3-D production, not a particularly deep group at the moment.

One name that’s high on the studio’s list to take Brevig’s place is Mark Waters, who’s met with New Line executives on the project. The director is best known for the sly high-school satire ‘Mean Girls’ as well as another youth-oriented comedy, ‘Freaky Friday.’ So though he’s not a 3-D savant, he knows how to mine ordinary social situations for comedy, something that the first ‘Journey’ kind of lacked. And he’s familiar with family-oriented adventure, having directed ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ a few years back.

Whoever they bring on, New Line is working off a strong foundation. The original, based on Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel, cost only about $50- to $60 million but became a surprise global hit, earning more than $230 million. Of course, in the summer of 2008 it was riding the beginning of a 3-D wave, as opposed to the tsunami of today. So the production may need to plunge into a new ocean. Or Waters. -- Steven Zeitchik