By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist April 8, 2011 at 1:16AM
We're still about eight months (six months if you're in the U.K.) from seeing the long-awaited Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson adaptation of the classic Hergé comic character Tintin, in "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" (the film opens internationally, where the series is a juggernaut, in October, before landing in the U.S. at Christmas). The motion-capture-fueled project was always planned as a trilogy -- the idea was that Spielberg would direct the first film, Jackson the second and another helmer, possibly Robert Zemeckis, the third. While the film's uncertain domestic appeal prevented the original idea of making all three back to back, word has come in that there's been some movement on the second film in the series.
We've been hearing in the last couple of days that British writer Anthony Horowitz, best known as the creator of the Alex Rider series of young-adult spy novels, as well as being a veteran of U.K. TV work like "Foyle's War," might be involved in the scripting process for the sequel, and Bleeding Cool have now found confirmation, from Horowitz himself, that he's been tapped to write the follow-up, as well as news as to which of the boy reporter's many adventures will form the basis of his script.
Horowitz appeared on Richard Bacon's show on BBC Radio 5Live on Wednesday to promote his final Alex Rider book, and told the D.J., "I’m working in Hollywood at the moment, I’m writing a feature film even as we speak. I’ve been hired to write Tintin... if [the first] film is a success and works and gets an audience, I’m writing the sequel to it, "Prisoners of the Sun," which Peter Jackson is going to direct."
Like the first film, which incorporates two Tintin adventures, "The Secret of the Unicorn" and "Red Rackham's Treasure," it seems as though Horowitz will be working off both "Prisoners of the Sun" and its predecessor "The Seven Crystal Balls," which begins the story. The plot involves Tintin and his BFF Captain Haddock investigating a strange illness that has befallen seven explorers who have discovered an Incan tomb, before traveling to Peru to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Horowitz isn't a bad choice, although, with his only screen credits to date being on the very bad adaptation of his Alex Rider novel "Stormbreaker," and on the forgotten Christina Ricci ghost story "The Gathering," he doesn't quite match up to the dream writing team assembled on the first film, made up of "Doctor Who" genius Steven Moffatt, "Hot Fuzz" director Edgar Wright and "Attack The Block" helmer Joe Cornish, but even Horowitz acknowledges he's unlikely to be the last person to put pen to paper on the project. Presumably, most of the cast of the first film, principally Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Toby Jones (whose characters all feature in the tale), will return.
Even if the first film is a success, we're probably a way off from seeing this -- Peter Jackson's working on "The Hobbit" for the next few years, so, even if the relative ease of a motion-capture shoot means he may be able to fit the performance capture into the post-production schedule of the Tolkien adaptation, we won't see this in theaters until 2014 at the earliest. But if you do want to see it in theaters, make sure you turn up when "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" begins its international roll-out on October 26th, or when it hits the States on December 23rd.