20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea is one of several projects that David Fincher could select to direct as his followup to this winter's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Walt Disney Pictures - which released the most famous cinematic adaptation of the Jules Verne novel back in the 1950s - is behind this new take on the story. Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns previously indicated that Fincher's version of the tale would differ significantly from both Verne's source material and Disney's Oscar-winning 1954 flick.
There's no word yet as to whether or not Fincher is certain to set to work on 20,000 Leagues next. However, it has been revealed that another writer will be taking a stab at the screenplay.
Deadline has learned that Andrew Kevin Walker is now working on the script for 20,000 Leagues, which aims to bring the tale of renegade Captain Nemo and his advanced submarine, the Nautilus, to life in an innovative and "compelling" fashion. That in part accounts for why the project will be shot in 3D and be upwards of 70% CGI, similar to other upcoming sci-fi projects like Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity or Shawn Levy's Fantastic Voyage remake (both of which are expected to feature loads of digital imagery).
Walker previously collaborated with Fincher on his acclaimed Noir crime drama, Se7en; he has also penned many a macabre project before, including Joel Schumacher's 8 mm, Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, and Joe Johnston's The Wolfman. Suffice it to say, Walker's being brought onboard for 20,000 Leagues is a good sign that Fincher plans to portray Nemo as more of a darkly-layered and complex "mad genius" in the film.
Reports leaked out earlier this week, indicating that Fincher could reunite with another one of his previous scribers, Eric Roth, on a new big-budget biographical picture about Cleopatra. However, there is no guarantee that Fincher won't ultimately pass on that project and instead work next on 20,000 Leagues - or, possibly, the followup to his Dragon Tattoo adaptation, The Girl Who Played with Fire.
While the prospect of Fincher tackling a historical biopic is intriguing, 20,000 Leagues arguably reads as a story more up the filmmaker's alley. The idea of a nuanced and darkly imaginative take on the Jules Verne classic sounds enticing, as does the thought of Fincher handling a script penned by the likes of Burns and Walker. It doesn't seem as though this new 20,000 Leagues adaptation is going to be an extremely loyal interpretation of the source material, but frankly, that story's been re-told enough that a new and serious "contemporary" spin on the tale could be quite refreshing. Also, "contemporary" in this context doesn't mean a version that goes the mindless-action route of other "updated" literary projects (ex. Paul W.S. Anderson's The Three Musketeers).
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as the story develops.