Principal production on the first of a planned pair of 3-D motion-capture films featuring the intrepid Belgian reporter-sleuth has kicked off in Los Angeles, with Billy Eliot star Jamie Bell in the title role and Daniel Craig playing the nasty pirate Red Rackham, whose descendants have a beef with Tintin's pal, Capt. Haddock.
Also onboard The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, due in theaters in 2011, are Brits Andy Serkis as Capt. Haddock, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as the Thompson twins, and Toby Jones as an as yet unknown villain.
Spielberg is doing the directing honors this time out, with Jackson slated to helm the sequel. The über-producer-directors originally planned a trio of Tintin films, but whether there will be a third largely has to do with how well the first two perform at the box office.
There had been some doubt as to whether any Tintin film would be made after the original attached studio, Universal Pictures, was taken aback by the movie's estimated $100 million-plus budget. Spielberg ultimately secured cofinancing from Sony Pictures and Paramount in October.
Tintin first appeared in 1929 in a newspaper comic strip penned by Hergé, the pen name of artist Georges Remi. Twenty-three books based on the serialized Tintin comics have sold more than 200 million copies around the globe.