Brian Helgeland  has been hired to write "Here There Be Monsters ," a movie about Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones -- except with sea monsters, individuals close to the project confirmed.
Producers of the Warner Bros./Legendary project are in talks with Robert Zemeckis  to direct.
Zemeckis directed a string of 1980s hits, including "Romancing the Stone," "Back to the Future" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," as well as 1994's "Forrest Gump."
His track record of late has been less solid.
His most recent 3D animated feature for Disney, "Mars Needs Moms ," grossed just $40 million worldwide on a production budget of over $150 million. Zemeckis' producing deal with Disney subsequently was not renewed.
He also produced DreamWorks' upcoming robot-boxing drama "Real Steel ."
ItsontheGrid.com , a sister publication of TheWrap, contributed to this report.