At the beginning of last month we reported on the news that Paul Greengrass was in early talks to helm a big-budget remake of the sci-fi classic, Fantastic Voyage. The film is being produced by James Cameron, written by Shane Salerno (AVP 2) and surprise surprise (sarcasm alert!) is being done in 3D.
At the time Greengrass' attachment seemed strange as even with his action movie resume - The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum and the recent Green Zone - directing Fantastic Voyage would be a departure from the director's usual intimate, up-close-and-personal style of filmmaking.
Well I guess we don't have to worry about whether or not Greengrass is suited to helming Fantastic Voyage, as Deadline is reporting that he is off the project. Instead he will focus on a new adaptation of Treasure Island which is being developed over at Warner Bros.
Greengrass was reported to be an early candidate to direct Treasure Island but it appeared he was more likely to concentrate on Fantastic Voyage (talk about irony). There are currently two Treasure Island movies in the works (this double-movie trend really seems to be making a comeback in Hollywood), one at WB and one from UK-based Ecosse Films that aims to update the story for modern audiences.
The WB version that Greengrass is now attached to aims to do a similar thing and I think it's no surprise to find that Lionel Wigram (Sherlock Holmes) is producing the film. I guess we have yet another case of two studios making their own version of the same story and hurrying to see who can get their version in theaters first (other recent examples include The Three Musketeers and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea).
It should be noted that Greengrass hasn't officially jumped ship from Fantastic Voyage to Treasure Island. Although he definitely won't be doing the former, he has yet to officially commit to the latter, as he and WB are currently trying to agree on a screenwriter.
At the time the project was announced, a script had been written by Michael Gilio, a relative unknown with only an indie film called Kwik Stop on his screenwriting resume. I'm guessing Greengrass doesn't like that script or else he would have signed on the dotted line already.
As for where Greengrass' departure leaves Fantastic Voyage: apparently he is the first and only director Cameron and Co. have approached and my guess is they'll go after an equally high-profile director to replace him. I would like it to be Cameron (let's not have a 12 year gap between movies again, eh Jim? :P ) but unfortunately producing is as far as his involvement goes.
Who would you like to see direct Fantastic Voyage now that Greengrass has departed? Do you think Greengrass should direct the new Treasure Island movie?