Actors Jamie Bell, left, and Daniel Craig have signed on for Steven Spielberg's upcoming Tintin film. ((Matt Dunham/Associated Press))

Though British actors Daniel Craig and Jamie Bell can currently be seen in theatres as brothers in the Jewish resistance film Defiance, the two will portray adversaries in Steven Spielberg's upcoming Tintin movie.

Bell, best known for starring in the acclaimed film Billy Elliot, has nabbed the title role of Belgian cartoonist Hergé's globe-trotting young reporter Tintin, while Craig has signed on to play the villainous pirate Red Rackham, according to Hollywood trade media.

Spielberg's much anticipated, multi-film Tintin project will begin with The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, to be directed by the award-winning U.S. filmmaker and co-produced by New Zealand's Peter Jackson.


Tintin, depicted with his canine companion Snowy, is still being discovered by readers around the globe thanks to new translations. ((Jacques Brinon/Associated Press) )

Other actors lined up for the first instalment include Jackson regular Andy Serkis, who will portray Tintin's best friend Captain Haddock, and a trio of faces familiar to British comedy fans: Mackenzie Crook, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

A subsequent film about the young adventurer is to be directed by Jackson. Both will feature 3-D motion-capture technology from Jackson's Weta Digital effects house. The project could also extend to a third film.

Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who went by the pen name Hergé, debuted his Tintin character in 1929. He eventually published two dozen books chronicling his heroic character's adventures and exploits around the world.

Despite various controversies — mostly stemming from dated viewpoints and controversial depictions in some of the books — new readers continue to discover the Tintin books. The series has been translated into about 70 languages and more than 200 million copies of the various titles have been sold worldwide.

Remi died in 1983 and he specified that no new Tintin stories be created after his death.