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When it was a family adventure project picked up by Steven Spielberg in summer 2008, The 39 Clues seemed pretty promising-- adaptation of a children's book series about a family solving clues around the world to learn their true nature. But if you've been paying attention you might have noticed that Spielberg has set his sights on a lot of projects in the last few years, and now that he's finally moving forward on his long-delayed Lincoln biopic, a few things are going to have to fall by the wayside. And, as these things do, one of them has to be picked out of the scrap heap by Brett Ratner.

According to Deadline DreamWorks has assigned Ratner to the adaptation of the book and online game series, which hadn't yet been published when we first reported on it in 2008 but now includes 11 installments. Ratner's also been busy eyeing new projects lately too, and it's unclear if this gig means he won't take on the Hercules movie as rumored; either way he's still got The Tower Heist coming later this year, the first movie he's released in theaters since 2007's Rush Hour 3 (yes, it really has been that long).

Given that Spielberg never really seemed to seriously consider The 39 Clues after picking it up-- even at the time he was only thinking about directing it-- it's no surprise to see him pass it on. Maybe The Tower Heist, a caper comedy starring Ben Stiller, is making the rounds and Spielberg saw something in Ratner's work there that seemed worthy to him. Or hey, maybe Ratner was just free that day. Either way, adjust your expectations of this Spielberg project to Ratner-sized levels accordingly.