Paramount Pictures has hired screenwriter Ehren Kruger (The Ring, The Ring 2) to write a new script for a major screen adaptation of the first book in Edgar Rice Burroughs' 11-volume John Carter of Mars series.  Paramount hopes to develop the series into a science fiction film franchise. 


Robert Rodriguez was originally scheduled to direct A Princess of Mars, the first film in the series (see 'Rodriguez To Film A Princess of Mars'), but lost the job in a dispute over giving Frank Miller co-directing credit on Sin City.  Kerry Conran, director of the blue screen-based Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, has signed to direct, and Paramount has hired Kruger to write a new draft of the screenplay for Conran. 


The studio plans to start filming in 10-12 months, with the goal of a 2006 release for the film that Paramount hopes will be the first entry in what will become a big-budget 'tentpole' franchise.