Elijah Wood is to star in 'Bookworm'.

The 'Lord of the Rings' actor will return to New Zealand for the family-adventure comedy that will be directed by Ant Timpson.

The film tells the story of 12-year-old Mildred, whose life is turned upside down when her mother ends up in hospital and her estranged father Strawn Wise (Wood) comes to look after her.

In a bid to entertain the bookish child, Strawn takes Mildred camping in the notoriously rugged New Zealand wilderness. The pair embark on the ultimate test of family bonding in a quest to find the mythological beast known as the Canterbury Panther.

The potential for mishap is significant as Mildred has never been into the wilds and Strawn is more at home on the Las Vegas strip.

It is the second time that Wood and Timpson have worked together following the 2019 movie 'Come to Daddy'.

'Bookworm' is currently in pre-production and will shoot on location in New Zealand in March and April 2023. Toby Harvard has written the screenplay for the flick.

The project is being launched at the American Film Market by sales agent Mister Smith Entertainment.

Timpson said: "Toby and I are always obsessed by fathers and their foibles, especially the traits that we're afraid of having or displaying.

"'Bookworm' will be a love letter to the escapist 70s cinema we grew up with, non-pandering cinema where adults and kids enjoyed all the onscreen shenanigans equally."

Mister Smith Entertainment's CEO David Garrett said: "We just love the script, which is so reminiscent of the best of New Zealand cinema – with its smart, dry wit and heartfelt raw emotional energy – all set against a backdrop of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable.

"And the father-daughter relationship is so funny and engaging, it is impossible not to love them both, for all their faults."