Dirk Pitt: Breck Eisner is in negotiations to helm Sahara, the first big screen version of the Dirk Pitt bestselling action-adventure by Clive Cussler, reports Variety.

Eisner, son of Walt Disney Co. topper Michael Eisner, has established himself as a TV director with an episode of Steven Spielberg Presents Taken and pilots for Thought Crimes and The Invisible Man. Eisner is also attached to develop action-comedy Big Ticket for DreamWorks.

Sahara was greenlit last May by Crusader Entertainment, with Paramount picking up domestic distribution along with the U.K., Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand distribution rights.

The film would introduce Dirk Pitt as a modern-day Indiana Jones. The story would be set in the Sahara Desert and central Africa with Pitt and a U.N. medical team battling a deadly microbe that threatens the global marine environment.

Paramount Pictures had originally targeted Tom Cruise for the role of Dirk Pitt but with his busy schedule he respectfully declined.

Brian B.