"Toy Story 3" writer to tackle Snow White project

Tue Feb 1, 2011 9:48pm EST

Best Original Screenplay winner Michael Arndt of ''Little Miss Sunshine'' poses backstage with his award at the 79th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 25, 2007. Arndt is in negotiations to work on the script for Disney's ''Snow and the Seven,'' one of three rival Snow White projects in the works. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Best Original Screenplay winner Michael Arndt of ''Little Miss Sunshine'' poses backstage with his award at the 79th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 25, 2007. Arndt is in negotiations to work on the script for Disney's ''Snow and the Seven,'' one of three rival Snow White projects in the works.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Oscar-winning "Little Miss Sunshine" scribe Michael Arndt is in negotiations to work on the script for Disney's "Snow and the Seven," one of three rival Snow White projects in the works.

Additionally production designer John Myhre, an Oscar winner for his work on "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Chicago," has been brought on board to begin creating the worlds of the fairy tale, which is set in 19th century China.

Yes, China.

The project, which Disney has been developing since 2002, centres on a 19th century Englishwoman who returns to her Hong Kong home for her father's funeral, only to discover that her stepmother is plotting against her. She escapes to mainland China, finding solace among a rogue band of seven international warriors.

Francis Lawrence has been on board to direct since early on, even as a slew of writers has taken turns at the script. Arndt last week picked up an Oscar nomination for co-writing "Toy Story 3."

With all systems go for "Snow," the big question is Natalie Portman's involvement. She has been circling the project since last year, but her pregnancy could hinder her ability to undertake a physically intense movie that will feature several different fighting styles.

Elsewhere, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen are being courted for the title roles in Universal's "Snow White and the Huntsman." Another Snow White project is in development at indie financier Relativity Media, which has Tarsem Singh ("The Cell") on board to direct its untitled movie.