If the idea of a big studio producing an “updated” version (in the vein of the recent Sherlock Holmes film) of Alexander Dumas’ classic adventure novel The Three Musketeers in 3D that will be helmed by a successful action genre director sounds more than a bit familiar, don’t worry, it’s not just you.

Studio heads over at Warner Brothers are currently holding negotiations with Doug Liman (director of The Bourney Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith) to direct a new version of Dumas’ tale of three French musketeers who enlist a young man named D’Artagnan in their battle against an evil cardinal.  It will be produced by Lionel Wigram (the fellow behind -gasp- this winter’s Sherlock Holmes) and scripted by Peter Straughan (The Men Who Stare at Goats).

As we reported several months back, Summit Entertainment already has a very similar 3D treatment of The Three Musketeers underway, one being helmed by Paul W.S. Anderson (best known for Resident Evil and Alien vs. Predator).  That project is currently in the process of casting with a tentative 2011 release date in mind.

It’s curious that Warner Bros. has waited this long to really get their own Musketeers project seriously underway.  One would think that after Sherlock Holmes grossed $62.3 million in the U.S. in its first weekend at the box office that the studio heads would’ve bought the rights to just about any 19th-century action/adventure literature they could find.  Summit had the right idea three months in advance.

Of course now there’s the question of which version filmgoers would prefer.  The one by gory-actioner Anderson?  Or one by explosive-set piece-friendly Liman?  Or do most folks think this is a lame idea in the first place?

Either way, look for Warner Brothers to fast-track the development of The Three Musketeers in the hopes of releasing it before Summit’s project gets fully underway with an early 2011 release date in mind.

Source: Heat Vision, Coming Soon

Art by Gerald Parel.