A new version of Jules Verne’s novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has been mooted for some time, and for a while it was going to be made at Disney with, amazingly, David Fincher directing, until studio and director fell out because Fincher wanted the film to closely follow the book [silly him]. A few months ago, Bryan Singer got the green light to bring 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to the big screen via Fox, and said that he already had a script ready. The book was a favourite of his as a child, and he seems very passionate about the project which should translate into exciting cinema, though whether modern audiences will find much of interest in it is another matter.
Anyway, now comes word that another film based on the book is going to be made, and this one has Chinese backing. Bliss Media told Deadline that it will produce and finance their own version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea which they say already has a deal in place to release in China. They already have a director in Christophe Gans, who made Silent Hill and the superb Brotherhood of the Wolf. Pre-production will starting this autumn….just like on Singer’s film. The script will have a Chinese setting and mainly Chinese characters. How this will effect the Chinese release of Singer’s movie remains to be seen, but I know that, at the moment, I’m more excited about seeing the Chinese film, what with Gans onboard, than the American one.
In addition, Disney also has a live-action Captain Nemo project in development with James Mangold attached to direct and Sebastian Gutierrez working on the latest draftof the script. However, this one is an origin story of the Captain and not a straight adaptation of the novel, though hopefully it will incorporate bits of Verne’s other Nemo books.