EXCLUSIVE: Jon Favreau is in talks to direct Magic Kingdom, the Disney film with the premise that the attractions at the venerable theme park come to life. The studio set the project up nearly two years ago and got a draft by Battlestar Galactica‘s Ron Moore, but a new writer will be set and work on a new draft under Favreau. CAA-repped Favreau will be signing a development deal, because the project will percolate while he works on other big scale studio films. He just completed Cowboys & Aliens, the DreamWorks/Universal co-production that stars Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. Favreau will finish that film for release on July 29, 2011, and he is expected to re-team with Robert Downey Jr. for a third Iron Man, the franchise which was one of the Marvel films bought out from Paramount to be distributed by Disney. Magic Kingdom is being produced by Strike Entertainment partners Marc Abraham and Eric Newman, and while the studio has previously tapped theme park attractions for films like Pirates of the Caribbean, this is the first time it has created a movie featuring the entire park. Magic Kingdom sounds like Disney’s derivative answer to Fox’s Night at the Museum franchise, but the signing of Favreau to helm continues an interesting direction that the studio is going in under Rich Ross and Sean Bailey. They are making a concerted effort to draw A-list talent to the studio.
Earlier this week, Bailey landed The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock to helm Electric Boy Genius, and set Zombieland scribes Paul Wernick & Brett Reese to script Cowboy Viking Ninja. David Fincher is attached to direct 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Sam Raimi to direct The Great and Powerful Oz, and Tim Burton to direct the Linda Woolverton-scripted Maleficent possibly with Angelina Jolie. Guillermo del Toro signed to produce Haunted Mansion, and Peter Hedges is directing Odd Life of Timothy Green, which just got Joel Edgerton as its star. Before he stepped into the production president job, Bailey produced Tron: Legacy, and he kept director Joseph Kosinski in the fold by acquiring his likely next film, Oblivion. That is now being written by The Departed scribe William Monahan.