CATEGORIES Movie News
In Hollywood, the Earth has long been viewed as the cinematic equivalent of a giant Tootsie Pop: If you can somehow get to the center of it, a magical mystery awaits you. But now even the film gurus behind 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' are having a hard time licking sequel troubles.

Yes, according to Deadline, the follow-up to the 2008 hit has hit some speed bumps as star Brendan Frasier appears to have withdrawn from the project. At issue is New Line's decision to go ahead with production despite the fact that original director Eric Brevig is unavailable due to a scheduling conflict. In Hollywood, the Earth has long been viewed as the cinematic equivalent of a giant Tootsie Pop: If you can somehow get to the center of it, a magical mystery awaits you. But now even the film gurus behind 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' are having a hard time licking sequel troubles.

Yes, according to Deadline, the follow-up to the 2008 hit has hit some speed bumps as star Brendan Frasier appears to have withdrawn from the project. At issue is New Line's decision to go ahead with production despite the fact that original director Eric Brevig is unavailable due to a scheduling conflict.

That, in turn, means that New Line has hired a new director to helm the sequel: Brad Peyton, who recently directed the evocatively titled kids flick 'Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore' for parent company Warner Bros. The Warner Bros. brass was impressed enough by that effort, which opens June 30, to offer Peyton the gig on 'Journey 2,' so out goes Brevig and, apparently, with him Fraser as well.

So who is going to star in 'Journey to the Center of the Earth 2'? Rather than try to replace Fraser by bringing in a new actor to play the role of Professor Trevor Anderson, New Line will instead use the time honored tradition of promoting a kid from the first flick to headline the second. In this case, that kid is Josh Hutcherson, who played Prof. Anderson's nephew Sean in the original.

Of course, it's a risky move. Grooming a younger actor to replace an established star can sometimes backfire, which could be an especially costly gamble as the original movie's success ($242 million worldwide) was widely attributed to the likable Fraser's star power. Without him, the sequel, which will be shot in 3-D, may struggle to find an audience.

Our suggestion? Well, we've already seen what happens when you go to the center of the Earth. But millions of Americans are still wondering just how many licks it takes to get to the center of that darned Tootsie Pop.

We think we taste a blockbuster.