‘Rio’ Director Carlos Saldanha in Talks to Replace Joe Cornish on Fox’s ‘Rust’ (Exclusive)

Aline Brosh McKenna adapted Royden Lepp’s graphic novel for Simon Kinberg’s Genre Films banner

“Rio” filmmaker Carlos Saldanha is in talks to make his live-action directing debut with 20th Century Fox’s sci-fi movie “Rust,” which Joe Cornish (“Attack the Block”) exited several weeks ago, two individuals familiar with the family-friendly project have told TheWrap.

Aline Brosh McKenna (“The Devil Wears Prada”) adapted Royden Lepp’s graphic novel “Rust: Visitor in the Field,” which was published in September 2011 by Archaia Entertainment.

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Simon Kinberg is producing through his Fox-based Genre Films banner, whose Aditya Sood will executive produce with Archaia’s Stephen Christy and PJ Bickett.

A high-octane adventure in the vein of “E.T.,” story follows a family of farmers struggling in the wake of a devastating world war. Their lives are changed when Jet Jones, a young boy with a jetpack, crashes into their barn while being pursued by a giant decommissioned war robot. The family must then decide whether the secrets of Jet’s past holds the key to their survival.

Saldanha is in negotiations, having already met with the “Rust” team to discuss the creative direction of the project.

No reason was given for Cornish’s exit, though the director has also been developing “Snow Crash” for Paramount.

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Saldanha co-directed the global blockbuster “Ice Age” and “Robots” before taking the solo reins of “Ice Age: The Meltdown.” He went on to direct “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” and “Rio,” and recently wrapped “Rio 2,” which Fox will release on April 11, 2014.

Saldanha is represented by WME and attorney Nancy Newhouse-Porter.