Captain Nemo, the Jules Verne antihero and brilliant, yet eccentric, mind who serves as the helmsman on the Nautilus submarine in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, is being re-imagined for the big screen yet again. Appropriately enough, the developing Captain Nemo project is being produced by Palek Patel and Joe Roth, who’ve also been responsible for a number of the recent cinematic fairy tale re-tellings, including Snow White and the Huntsman, Oz the Great and Powerful, and this year’s Maleficent.
Verne’s 20,000 Leagues story is one classic tale of adventure that Hollywood’s been plotting to reimagine for several years now; at one point, both 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Pictures had new adaptations moving down the production pipeline. The latter prospective movie, with David Fincher as director, appeared to be close to a green light, back in earl 2013 as of right now, however, that version of the project looks to be dead.
THR is reporting that Sony has bought the spec script for Captain Nemo, with Patel and Roth producing the screenplay written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar – best known for having created the CW’s young Superman TV series Smallville (which ran for a whopping ten seasons). Gough and Millar also have a history, when it comes to sci-fi and/or high fantasy material, as their resume includes an early script draft for Spider-Man 2, along with contributions to The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and I Am Number Four.
The Captain Nemo character has been featured in the movies for nearly a century now, going all the way back to his screen debut in the silent film era (with 1916’s 20,000 Leagues film adaptation). Fincher’s abandoned vision of the iconic mad genius and the 20,000 Leagues universe was going to be a significant departure from previous iterations, going off comments made by the screenwriter, Scott Z. Burns (Side Effects).
With Captain Nemo, however, it seems likely that Gough and Millar will instead present the title character as more of a modern superhero archetype (keeping up with the trend for re-introducing literary icons or historical figures), but nothing more radical than that. Patel and Roth’s previous re-imaginings of such characters haven’t exactly been lauded for being that innovative, after all. (And when they have pushed further in an effort to break the mold, their methods have been questionable at best.)
That said, the Captain Nemo character is still a compelling icon, whose morally ambiguous nature makes him all the more fitting a choice for a film protagonist right now. It would also be nice to see the Nautlius’ helmer featured in a movie far more satisfying than 2003’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – which, for many, was the last time they saw him (assuming they didn’t catch either of the Mysterious Island adaptations released over the past decade).
We’ll keep you updated on Captain Nemo‘s development as more details are made available.