Steven Spielberg Setting A Course For Michael Crichton Novel 'Pirate Latitudes'

Steven SpielbergLegendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg may be directing invisible rabbit remake "Harvey" next, but his follow-up gig may have just opened up. USA Today reports that DreamWorks is developing an adaptation of Michael Crichton's final, as-yet-unreleased novel "Pirate Latitudes," a 17th century adventure involving the water-borne bandits' plot to raid Port Royal and liberate of Spanish galleon of its valuable cargo. The novel isn't out until November 24, but David Koepp -- who previously adapted Crichton's "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World" for Spielberg -- is already working on a script.

The question of course is whether Spielberg will direct or not. It certainly seems like a possibility, at least according to DreamWorks CEO Stacey Snider. "Anything that Michael wrote, Steven would be keenly interested to read," she said. "But without Michael knowing it, or even me knowing it, it turns out Steven always wanted to direct his own pirate film."

There's also the competition to consider. "Pirates of the Caribbean" is headed back to the big screen for a fourth outing in 2011. According to Snider, there's nothing to fret about. "Latitudes" is a reality based swashbuckling tale whereas "Pirates" is more rooted in supernatural fantasy.

Personally, I think we have a good shot of Spielberg taking "Latitudes" on as his "Harvey" follow-up. DreamWorks' current plan is to let Koepp finish the script before thinking about scheduling, crew or any other big picture concerns. That gives the director plenty of time to think about this, how great it would be to give his old pal Crichton a fitting send-off by getting the "Jurassic Park" band back together one last time.

Spielberg even had some comments on Crichton's final book. "Michael wrote a real page-turner that already seems suited for the big screen," he said. "Michael and I have had almost two decades of solid collaborations. Whenever I made a film from a Michael Crichton book or screenplay, I knew I was in good hands. Michael felt the same, and we like to think he still does."

Should Spielberg direct "Pirate Latitudes"? Can you think of any reasons why he wouldn't put other projects aside to focus on a last dance with Crichton?