David Fincher is certainly not timid when it comes to embracing new filmmaking technology. So it comes as little shock that what should be his next project, Disney’s new adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, will utilize state-of-the-art 3D camera equipment to bring Jules Verne’s sea-faring adventure to life.
3D’s explosion in popularity over the past year has made it almost a foregone conclusion that most every immediate upcoming studio production will be shot or post-converted to the format, but this is the first official word that Fincher will follow suit with his remake for the Mouse House.
Fincher is currently hard at work on his English-language version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but that didn’t prevent the acclaimed auteur from sitting down with Collider and chatting about his upcoming production slate. While Disney officials say that Fincher is officially attached to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the filmmaker slyly avoided confirming to Collider that it’ll be his next project after Dragon Tattoo, but did casually mention that he expects to shoot it in the 3D format.
The Oscar-nominated helmer used green screen trickery and cutting-edge visual F/X to age (and de-age) Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and to create the flawless illusion that Armie Hammer had an identical twin in The Social Network. Fincher also made clever use of digital imagery to recreate the look of 60s/70s-era San Francisco in his non-fiction thriller, Zodiac, and (among other things) to produce a highly stylized opening credit sequence for his cult hit Fight Club.
There’s no denying that Fincher knows how to use cutting-edge photography technology and computer tools to enhance his abilities as a visual storyteller. His films are generally well-received because they are highly polished in design, but are foremost concerned with narrative and characters – as opposed to being exercises purely in style, not substance.
3D is a horse of a slightly different color, as it naturally darkens film stock and will require that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is shot via an altered lighting scheme. Fincher’s preference for coloring his cinematic work with dark hues is not likely to change, but the big-budget sci-fi adventure flick will have to be shot as a literally brighter movie so that the final product doesn’t turn out too murky. It’s a situation similar to that faced by Ridley Scott on his Alien prequel and Fincher will surely adjust his approach accordingly.
Perhaps the more interesting aspect of all this is how much more commercially-friendly Fincher’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea sounds than just about every other project he’s done up to now. He’s making a 3D film for Disney, so an R-Rating is out of the question; the movie will offer lots of action and fantastical creatures to attract the attention of mainstream ticket buyers; and the subject matter is much more widely-known and arguably a safer bet than, say, an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story or a book about how a bunch of 21st century computer nerds became billionaires thanks to the Internet.
What do you think about Fincher’s decision to make 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in 3D?