Brad Pitt made headlines last year when he revealed he’s interested in stepping away from acting in favor of producing (and maybe even directing). However, the A-lister won’t be vanishing from the big screen anytime soon, as he headlines next month’s Killing Them Softly and will appear in three films due to arrive in 2013 (Marc Forster’s World War Z adaptation, Steven McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave, and Ridley Scott’s The Counselor).

Pitt doesn’t have any pressing commitments thereafter, other than a role in James Gray’s gestating thriller titled (no joke) The Gray Man. It appears that a reunion with director David Fincher could also be in the cards for the actor, seeing how the former is considering Pitt for his developing 3D re-adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

There’s been nothing to report about Fincher’s 20,000 Leagues over the past year, since Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en) came aboard to give the script a rewrite; in fact, Disney has not given the project an official greenlight just yet. However, since Fincher’s plans to shoot The Girl Who Played with Fire are taking longer than expected to put into action (the filmmaker says he has yet to “figure out” the sequel), it’s possible the Jules Verne adaptation could end up becoming Fincher’s next venture.

Variety says that Disney currently has 20,000 Leagues on a three-month hold as it determines whether or not to actually move forward with the expensive effects-heavy project. Nonetheless, insiders are reporting that Fincher has approached Pitt about the film, which would serve as their fourth collaboration (after Se7en, Fight Club, and Curious Case of Benjamin Button). Pitt, should be sign on, would play the role of sailor Ned Land, previously brought to life by Kirk Douglas in Disney’s 1954 live-action movie.

Scott Z. Burns (who wrote the first draft of the 20,000 Leagues script) said that he had borrowed “very little” from Verne’s source material and seemed more interested in using the novel as a jump-off point for the movie. However, when Walker spoke to Coming Soon about the project last year, he alluded to the film being a comparatively loyal interpretation of the text:

“‘20,000 Leagues’ came about because David and I were trying very hard to find something to do together… As it so happened, David and I both loved ‘20,000 Leagues’ when we were kids. It was one of my favorite books. So David came to me and said that Sean Bailey had contacted him about doing ‘20,000 Leagues’ at Disney and I said, ‘I would love to do that.’Then we met with Sean who was really great and said, ‘Come to Disney and let’s try and make a really cool version of a classic story.'”

20,000 Leagues, as indicated before, would still be somewhat of a costly gamble for Disney, given that early estimates have suggested the film could be 70% CGI (and shot in 3D). While the Mouse House didn’t take as huge a loss on this year’s John Carter as originally-anticipated, the film’s under-performance has left the studio more wary of big-budget fare (which contributed to Lone Ranger being put on hold for a while last year). The combination of Pitt, Fincher, and Verne’s story, however, could prove too tempting for Disney to pass on.

More on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as the story develops.

Source: Variety, Coming Soon