Robert Zemeckis is tipped to direct a new big screen adaptation of Roald Dahl's 'The Witches'.

The 'Back To The Future' director is in final negotiations with Warner Bros. to helm the project after Guillermo Del Toro was forced to pull out due to scheduling conflicts.

According to Variety, Zemeckis will also write the script with his partner Jack Rapke.

'The Shape Of Water' director Del Toro will still co-produce the movie along with Zemeckis, Rapke and 'Gravity' helmer Alfonso Cuaron.

Based on the 1973 novel, the film follows a seven-year-old boy in a world where witches live in disguise as women, and kill children.

After the boy has a close encounter with a witch, he teams up with his grandmother to bring them all down.

The story was adapted into a film in 1990 by the acclaimed British director Nicholas Roeg, starring Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch and also featuring Rowan Atkinson.

Sources say Zemeckis's version will be closer to the original story, while Roeg's film was a looser interpretation, before the days of green screen and CGI.

The family adventure movie would be a return for Zemeckis to the genre that made his name at the beginning of his career, with the 'Back To The Future' trilogy and 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?'.

Zemeckis was previously on board to direct 'Flashpoint', which will see Ezra Miller star as comic book superhero Flash.

But he pulled out of the project to helm Universal's fantasy film 'Welcome to Marwen', and Warner Bros. are said to have been keen to find a new project to work with him on instead.

After changing hands several times, 'Flashpoint' is now set to be co-directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.