Brendan Fraser channels Inkheart

He may not always pick the best films (Monkeybone, anyone?) but Brendan Fraser is always good value for money. And now he’s got his sights set on the world of movies for, you know, kids.

He’s all set to join New Line’s latest attempt at finding the next Harry Potter. The studio seems to be leading the pack, with the first His Dark Materials film (The Golden Compass) about to judder into production, and now the purchase of another fantasy aimed at the ankle-biter brigade.

Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart tale focuses on the sort of wish-fulfilment plot any child would love – a little girl whose father (Fraser) can bring characters to life from books by reading them aloud. But then a bad-seed ruler and his band of thugs swipes pops, leading our heroine and her imaginary friends on a quest to get him back.

Clearly spotting the follow-up potential, New Line also has an option on Funke’s follow-up, Inkspell. For now, though Iain Softley will direct Inkheart in the autumn.