Astroboy: According to Variety, Sony Pictures Entertainment has pacted with "Samurai Jack" and "Dexter's Laboratory" creator GenndyTartakovsky to write and direct its long-in-development film version of the classic Japanese toon series "Astroboy."

The project was purchased by the studio in 1997 as one of the high-priority properties for Col chairman Amy Pascal and slated as a live-action tentpole picture. Screenplays were generated by Todd Alcott and all systems were go, but the pic hit a snag in 2000 when Steven Spielberg began A.I. Both projects involved a robot boy who replaces a dead child.

"Astroboy" is a futuristic Pinocchio story about a scientist who builds a robot replacement for his dead son but then turns him out in the world when it becomes clear he's not human.

Subsequently, Eric Leighton ("Dinosaur") was hired to make the pic all-CGI, but insiders now say the project will be a blend of animation, animatronics and live-action, a la "Stuart Little."