Fantastic Voyage is one remake that appeared close to a green-light back in 2011, but has shown no signs of forward movement over the three years since then. The project is envisioned as a tentpole largely set within a digitally-created environment – the interior of the human body in this case – similar to the 3D CGI alien world of Pandora in Avatar or the outer space setting of Gravity. Given the costly nature of such projects, though, it’s not too much of a shock that Fantastic Voyage hasn’t come together just yet. (Disney’s plans for a CGI-heavy 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea live-action remake never made it past early pre-production, for similar reasons.)
The Fantastic Voyage remake, however, has Avatar‘s James Cameron and Jon Landau in its corner as producers, which is why it has thus far managed to avoid falling into the depths of development limbo. Previously, the story for this film was said to be devoid of any obvious political overtones, unlike the original Oscar-winning 1966 movie (which is rooted in the Cold War). Instead, the remake was reported to be focused on the story of a scientist who uses nanotechnology to enter the body of his dying wife, in the hopes of being able to save her. However, that may no longer be the case.
THR is reporting that Dark Knight trilogy co-writer and Man of Steel screenwriter David S. Goyer has been recruited to write a new treatment for the Fantastic Voyage remake. It remains to be seen whether the film will now be a contemporary-set sci-fi adventure or something else – like a Jules Verne throwback, as was the original intent with the 1960s movie. Goyer’s Da Vinci’s Demons TV series blends modern pulpy action tropes and style with an often grittily-realized historical setting, so it’s not inconceivable that he might rewrite the Fantastic Voyage as a similar period piece with a 21st-century sense of spectacle.
On the other hand, Goyer might have something else in mind altogether, so as to incorporate the nearly fifty years of advancements in nanotechnology that have occurred since the first Fantastic Voyage was released. Either way, it sounds as though Goyer will be starting from scratch with his story treatment, rather than drawing from the previous script drafts put together by such genre writers as Laeta Kalogridis (Terminator: Genesis), Shane Salerno (Avatar 4), and National Treasure writing duo Cormac and Marianne Wibberly (who also penned a script draft for the developing Uncharted movie).
While nothing is set in stone yet, Goyer writing the treatment for Fantastic Voyage doesn’t guarantee that he’ll be responsible for writing the film’s actual script. He also did the treatment for The Sandman comic book adaptation that is now being scripted by Jack Thorne (Skins), and was reported to have worked on the Godzilla reboot story early on, though he isn’t credited for any possible contributions. As a solo screenwriter, Goyer’s work can be all over the place, but he’s generally solid as a story concept guy, so his involvement with Fantastic Voyage reads as encouraging news for the project so far (as does his involvement as an executive producer).
Thanks to Goyer, Fantastic Voyage is also back on the fast-track for development, so we should be hearing about potential directors before 2014 draws to a close. Previously, Shawn Levy (Real Steel) and Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) were either attached or in talks to take the helm, while Louis Leterrier (Now You See Me) was also rumored. The Oscar-winning Gravity has certainly raised the bar for a movie like Fantastic Voyage – combining splashy 3D visuals with an action/adventure temple, in order to explore a meaningful human story – so whoever winds up directing will have greater expectations to meet than they might’ve a few years ago.
We’ll keep you updated on development for Fantastic Voyage as more information is made available.