February 12, 2004 10:44 AM

Homer Simpson’s larger-than-life character is poised to get a little bit bigger. Writers for the animated TV classic revealed this week that a big-screen version of “The Simpsons” is currently in the works, according to reports in the Hollywood trade publication Variety.

“We are in the very early stages of developing an idea for the movie,” said animation chief Chris Meledandri.

“Simpsons” creators Matt Groening and James L. Brooks are believed to be directing a team of at least seven writers in the project for 20th Century Fox’s film division, although people close to the effort are mostly being tight-lipped about its development.

Sources told Variety that even though “The Simpsons” creative team had long wanted to do a film, this project was still in the idea stage.

“This is our idea of how to whip up enthusiasm for an idea that hasn’t been formed yet,” Brooks said in a statement.

But at least one writer has been eager to talk about the project. Mike Reiss told DVDFanatic.com that there has been talk of a movie since the animated sitcom’s second season. “It’s been 13 years of wanting to do ‘The Simpsons’ movie,” Reiss said. The series debuted on FOX in 1989.

Reiss also told the Web site that he expected the film to be out by the summer or Christmas of 2006. “It’s a reality after being just sort of this phantom idea,” he said. “I think it is really gonna happen.”

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