By Brendan Swift

Omnilab Media has teamed up with The Jim Henson Company to produce a live-action 3D sequel to 1982 cult classic The Dark Crystal.

The fantasy sequel, Power of the Dark Crystal, will be directed by local filmmakers Peter and Michael Spierig (Daybreakers, Undead) and is set hundreds of years after the first movie. It follows the adventures of a mysterious girl made of fire who, together with a Gelfling outcast, steals a shard of the legendary Crystal in an attempt to reignite the dying sun that exists at the center of the planet.

The project was confirmed in the US overnight although it was first reported by INSIDEFILM in 2008, when it received provisional approval that it could receive the Producer Offset rebate. At that time Gabriel director Shane Abbess was attached to the project, although it was still in early development.

The Spierig brothers have a range of other projects in development including Captain Blood, Black Sun, God of War and Elephantmen after last year's vampire film Daybreakers took more than $US30 million at the US box office.

The Power of the Dark Crystal's screenplay has been written by Australian Craig Pearce (Moulin Rouge, Romeo+Juliet) and is based on an original script by Annette Duffy and David Odell.

Brian Froud will reprise his role as conceptual designer of the film, which will use a mix of live action and traditional puppetry combined with visual effects created by Omnilab-owned Iloura (Where the Wild Things Are, The Pacific).

“This is a chance to take the world of puppetry into the modern age by using modern techniques (like motion capture CGI) and the tried and true methods (like puppetry and animatronics) to create a one hundred per cent real world that is unique to The Dark Crystal," Peter Spierig said in a statement.

The Jim Henson Company chief executive Lisa Henson said the Power of the Dark Crystal was an ambitious undertaking. "Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig are sure to create a film that will continue the legacy of the original and exceed the expectations of our loyal fans,” she said in a statement.

Omnilab chief executive Christopher Mapp said the film "will showcase the depth of talent Australia has to offer up on the international stage".

Omnilab's production arm, Ambience Entertainment, is also set to start filming another big budget film, The Killer Elite, with Clive Owen and Jason Statham, in Victoria this month.

The Spierig brothers

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