’20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ Story Details & Production Update

Published 4 years ago by

david fincher 20000 leagues under the sea 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Story Details & Production Update

David Fincher will return to the world of big-budget science-fiction filmmaking for the first time since Alien 3 with Walt Disney Pictures’ new adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

While there will naturally be major differences between Fincher’s take on the tale of Captain Nemo and the Mouse House’s previous 1954 film version (no singing Kirk Douglas, this time around), there’s been some question as to how much the new 20,000 Leagues would resemble Jules Verne’s original novel.

According to screenwriter Scott Z. Burns, the answer is… not a whole lot. When he sat down to speak with Cinema Blend about his upcoming scripts (which includes this year’s Contagion), Burns mentioned that there will be “very little” material that’s lifted directly from Verne’s literature, adding that his job “isn’t to turn a book into a movie, it’s to be inspired by the book and then go write a movie.”

Burns went on to clarify that he and Fincher are still planning on remaining true to “the spirit” of Verne’s novel, especially with regards to its three main characters: the brilliant-but-crazed Captain Nemo, Professor Pierre Aronnax, and the sailor Ned Land. The dynamic between the trio will apparently be heavily emphasized in the film, in between all the fantastical locales and sea-battles they engage in.

A more character-driven spin on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea would be most welcome, especially in the capable hands of Fincher, who excels at realizing complex and multi-layered individuals in cinematic form (see: his take on Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, among others). Nemo in particular is the sort of obsessive fellow who’d make for an excellent character study, with regards to how his frame of mind affects his relationships with others, his reclusive existence aboard the Nautilus, and dark worldview in general.

20000 Leagues Under the Sea movie image 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Story Details & Production Update

Now that Fincher has the benefit of almost twenty additional years of experience (not to mention, more creative control), his 20,000 Leagues project should be a much smoother production than Alien 3 was. The director has never been afraid to utilize cutting-edge digital technology in his films before, and this will be no exception; the plan is not only for 20,000 Leagues to be shot in 3D, but Fincher also expects the film to be almost 70% CGI (a la Avatar).

It’s partially for that reason – and because Fincher’s been busy completing post-production duties on his adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – that Burns says there’s a whole lot of pre-vis work that needs to be done before 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea can actually start filming. However, it doesn’t sound like a late spring/early summer 2012 production start date is out of the question just yet.

We will keep you posted on the status of Fincher’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the meantime.

Source: Cinema Blend

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  1. If you’re going to ‘do the book’, then ‘do the book’ and stay true to it. If you’re writing something based on it, then don’t use the ’20,000′ title to hook the public into thinking that you are keeping the vision. You might as well call it ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’….

    here we go again…. ~ Stark

    • I was going to write the same exact criticisms so, spot on. ;)

    • Which is why batman begins is a horrible film….obviously Nolan used ‘batman’ in the title to hook people in despite the major differences from the original source material

      • You are kidding right? All Nolan did was take Batman and villains and ground them a bit more in reality. The characters in general though remain essentially the same. Same motivations, same look (for the most part), same back story, etc. Not exactly a big change or even comparable to what Burns will be doing (or more importantly NOT doing) with the book this movie will be supposedly based off of “in spirit”.

        • Actually, Nolan quite butchered Batman Year One and The Long Halloween in his films.

    • Agreed!

  2. I hate the phrase “true to the spirit of…” That basically means, “um, yeah we’re going to eff up this story.”

  3. So the man that produced the least liked and in some cases unmentionable Alien movie thinks he is a better writer than Jules Verne. This line of thought is how we keep getting movies based on highly successful books that bomb for the simple fact that screen writers can’t WRITE better than icons of literature. Then when the movie is less than successful they blame the fans of the books for not being loyal. Typical Hollywood insanity.

    • You mean people actually liked Alien Ressurection?

      • Not me. Of the original four, it deserves the most hatred. Alien 3 Assembly Cut is quite good, actually. Though, not as good as the first two films, in my opinion.

  4. I would have thought the one who directed Aliens 3 would have gone into hiding!!

  5. Just reading the comments and it seems some of these people don’t actually know who David Fincher is. After Alien 3 he directed films like Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac and The Social Network. Also, I doubt he thinks he is a better writer than Jules Verne. Especially as he isn’t even the screenwriter.

    Can’t wait to see this.

    • Se7en rules!

    • I know who David Fincher is and out of all the movies you listed the only one I personally liked was Fight Club. Nor did I state Fincher was the writer, Burns is the one who thinks he is more qualified to interpret what Jules Verne should “impart” to an audience coming into a movie bearing the title of the book a true writer created more than 100 years ago.

      • Burns had nothing to do with Alien 3, so your first comment is particularly confusing.

  6. I just hope he doesn’t let Trent Reznor do the music for this. Teaming with Howard Shore again would be a better idea.

  7. What, you mean Ned Land isn’t going to sing “Whale of a Tale” again? Too bad. ;)

    I love the Disney version, but I’ll certainly give this one a shot. Fincher is a talented director (despite Alien 3 being on his resume).

  8. Skip if its not true to the books like some movies(insert 7 movies here) then no i wont see it.

  9. If the movie is exactly like the book, it would probably be boring and have clunky pacing. Not saying the book is boring and clunky, but what works in a book may or may not work on screen, so I totally understand what the guy is saying. As long as it maintains the general story-arc and has strong characters, it should be good. AND PLEASE have good characters, movie! So few movies do these days. It’s all about the effects. Effects are USELESS without characters to convince us to care, dangit!

  10. This film will probably end up being quite good, not great but watchable. I just dont understand why they let them get away with using someone else’s work to sell a movie, stealing a name then doing something with no intention of using it for anything other than conning people to cinemas! Its wrong.

    ….But why the hell do people think Alien 3 is the worst out of the four?! Resurrection was just terrible and comical at the end….that alien being sucked out of a hole had me in stitches!

    • I didn’t like Alien3 as much as 1 or 2, BUT… I certainly LOVED it passionately compared to that train wreck of a Euro-trash mess that Alien Resurrection was!

  11. Gotta love you fanboys. Batman Begins is easily the best Batman put to film and you have seen ZERO on what this is going to look like and you cry about it. Seriously, were you all born this way or did all the years in mom’s basement turn you into whiney little babies?

    • ^ So could Tim Burtons first Batman movie!