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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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on: May 16, 2010, 11:07:09 AM
David Fincher to direct '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' (exclusive)
Source: Hollywood Reporter

Captain Nemo and his Nautilus are surfacing again.

Months after deep-sixing a McG-helmed version of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," Disney is in negotiations with David Fincher to direct, and hot "Bourne Ultimatum" scribe Scott Z. Burns to write, a new take on the classic Jules Verne story.

The project came together after Fincher approached Disney's new production head Sean Bailey a few weeks into his job this winter. The Oscar-nominated helmer wanted to tackle a four-quadrant tentpole movie, somewhat of a departure from the dark, R-rated dramas such as "Fight Club" and "Zodiac" (or even "Curious Case of Benjamin Button") that he's done in the past.

The project was being developed under the radar as Bailey settled into his position under new studio topper Rich Ross, then gained steam in the past few days with Fincher and Burns entering talks for deals.

 First published in 1869, the classic science fiction novel is in the public domain. But ever since Disney's Kirk Douglas-starring version was released in 1954, the studio and the Verne story -- about a group of men who encounter a vengeful scientific genius and his warlike submarine -- have been linked in the public's mind. Last year, Disney was fast-tracking a $150 million "Leagues" that would have served as an origin story for Nemo. But the project was the first of several to be sunk by Ross when he took over the studio from Dick Cook in the fall (ironically, given Fincher's involvement, the dark tone of the McG version was a concern for the new regime).

It's not surprising that Disney would revisit "Leagues." Ross has said his mandate is to make wide-appeal, pre-branded entertainment. And while plotlines are being kept submerged, the Fincher/Burns take on the material is described as being in the vein of "Star Wars" or "The Empire Strikes Back." It will aim to be visually dazzling.

Burns, who penned Steven Soderbergh's latest "Contagion" as well as "The Informant!," will begin writing immediately. That should give Fincher, who is in post on "The Social Network" for Sony, time to direct another movie (possibly "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," also for Sony, but his name has surfaced in connection with a host of projects) before jumping into "Leagues."
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Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 06:18:52 PM
Exclusive first pic:


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Reply #2 on: August 23, 2010, 09:26:58 AM
David Fincher’s ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ Being Developed with “More Heart… Realistic Lucidness”
Source: SlashFilm

Few upcoming projects have quite the promise that Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea does, and much of that is due to it having David Fincher at the helm. If ever there were a director capable of delivering the visual splendor, attention to detail, and focused intensity and excitement that a tale like Jules Verne’s classic deserves, it’s Fincher.

And between claims that Fincher wants 20,000 Leagues to be his Empire Strikes Back and this latest update from co-writer Randall Wallace, the likelihood of that promise being realized continues to grow.

In an interview with MTV (it’s been taken down for unknown reasons, but here’s a mirror), Wallace provided some insight into the project when discussing the week he spent doing rewrites on the script.

    "I loved that project. I think they were developing it in a really smart way. They were developing it, at least I believe this is why they asked me to work on it, they were developing it in a way that had more heart and a more realistic lucidness than what we would think of as the normal fantasy fare. It’s not my project to direct, [but] I can tell you… I am not a great fan of pixels. I understand they’re a tremendous moviemaking tool but what happens to me in most current movies, my actual emotional connection to the story and the characters is removed when I know — like everybody else in the audience knows — that I’m not watching human beings in a physical world."

I think most of us can agree that Wallace (who in addition to penning the screenplays for Braveheart and Pearl Harbor is the writer/director of films such as We Were Soldiers and the upcoming Secretariat) has the right attitude here, and I would hope that he brought as much of it into his draft of the script as possible.

The more I hear about the approach that Disney is taking with this property, the more it becomes clear that they know what they’re doing. The source material may be firmly rooted in elements of fantasy, but it’s not so fantastical that it can’t translate to a fully believable cinematic world. All it needs is the right person to give it that realistic edge, and Fincher is more than suited for the job. If anything, this is playing to his strengths, since even with a movie like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button he didn’t seem too keen on embracing the fantastical side to the story. With 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, he doesn’t need to; the fantasy elements are there, but the more practically realized they are, the better.


As you might recall, the project was previously titled Captain Nemo: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and was setup with director by McG with a script by Bill Marsilli’s (Deja Vu), with rewrites by geek screenwriter Justin Marks (Masters of the Universe, Super Max) and Randall Wallace (Braveheart). The project was shut down a few weeks after Disney chairman Dick Cook left Disney. Apparnetly the dark tone of McG’s version was a big concern of new studio head Rich Ross and prodution head Sean Bailey.

Fincher approached Disney production head Sean Bailey a few weeks into his job this winter, which is around the same time Disney announced they had dropped the project from their slate. The project was developed under the radar and it was only in the past few days that the official deals were put on the table. Fincher developed the new take on the franchise with Bourne Ultimatum/The Informant! scribe Scott Z. Burns, which “will aim to be visually dazzling” and is being described as “being in the vein of Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back.”

The previous screenplay was to tell the origin story of Nemo and his warship, the Nautilus. The unofficial logline read:

    “A fugitive whaler teams up with a naturalist, a mysterious woman and a captain of a futuristic submarine, to search for a lost underwater civilization that holds libraries of vast knowledge and a weapon with the power to destroy mankind.”

Of course, this storyline will probably be completely abandoned. No details about Fincher’s take are known at this time. Burns will start writing the screenplay immediately, and Fincher will likely have enough time to tackle another project before going under the sea (probably the much talked about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo).

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was the first live action film in Walt Disney history, and is considered by many to be the most mature film they have ever produced. Based on the Jules Verne novel of the same name, the 1954 film told the story of a ship sent to investigate a wave of mysterious sinkings encounters the advanced submarine, the Nautilus, commanded by Captain Nemo.

The film is best remembered for the giant-squid battle and for the Nautilus itself. It won two Academy Awards in 1955 for Best Effects and Set Decoration, and was also nominated for Best Film Editing.

Read more: David Fincher’s ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ Being Developed with “More Heart… Realistic Lucidness” | /Film http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/08/23/david-finchers-20000-leagues-under-the-sea-being-developed-with-more-heart-realistic-lucidness/#ixzz0xRIO7qLU
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


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Reply #3 on: August 12, 2011, 03:40:44 PM
David Fincher Says ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’ To Be 70% CG, Keen On Motion-Capture Work
Source: Playlist

Of all the projects David Fincher has attached himself To over the years, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” is certainly the most mainstream-ready. Set up at Disney and set to be shot in 3D, it’s definitely Fincher’s first step towards tentpole filmmaking and while we’d probably rather see the director do something, anything else, the fact that Scott Z. Burns (”Contagion,” “The Informant!”) penned the script gives up hope this will be a cut above the rest.

Throughout this career, Fincher has always been on the cutting edge of technology. Even with something like last year’s “The Social Network”—which on the face of it doesn’t seem to require any digital work—Fincher used bits and bytes to double up Armie Hammer; “Zodiac” featured extensive digital work to recreate sections of San Francisco; we don’t need to tell you about “Fight Club” or “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” and even the single-setting “Panic Room” found Fincher playing with his computers particularly for the “single take” break-in sequence. Well, the director plans to get out his laptop again.

At an Actors Studio Q&A at the Swedish Film Institute (via /Film), Fincher was asked about doing performance capture or motion capture work in future projects and in answer he revealed that ‘20,000 Leagues’ will be his most CG-heavy feature to date. “I would love to do something like that. I would love to do something probably more like ‘Avatar’ than ‘Tintin.’ I like the idea of something that is a little more…complicated. [chuckles] I love the idea of a ‘cartoon’, but I would like it to be sort of very, very dense. And, in fact, ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ will be probably 70% CG…I love motion capture and think it’s only in its infancy, and eventually there won’t be a difference between motion capture and acting, because that’s all motion capture is, is being able to capture acting.”

It’s certainly an intriguing bit of info from the director, one that points to a film that will be a bigger undertaking than we initially figured, and certainly, Fincher will be looking to push the boundaries of what has already been done. Whether or not this will be his next film remains to be seen. With Steve Zaillian already tasked to write “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” if “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” turns out be the mega hit Sony is hoping for, we won’t be surprised if Fincher once again returns to the world of Lisbeth Salander.
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Reply #4 on: April 02, 2013, 10:40:33 AM
Oz Government Gives Disney $22.5M To Lure ’20,000 Leagues’ Shoot To Australia

In the largest inducement it’s ever offered to a Hollywood production, the Australian government has confirmed it will give Disney a one-off payment of $22.5M to shoot 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo in Oz.

Sources tell Deadline the greenlight on the David Fincher film is still contingent on casting, but it is expected that Fox Studios in Sydney and Village Roadshow Studios in Queensland will share hosting of the production. Disney executives had asked the federal, New South Wales and Queensland governments for subsidies which would effectively lift the 16.5% location rebate to 30%, similar to the $12.8M payment by the federal government which persuaded Fox to shoot The Wolverine in Sydney.

20,000 Leagues, which is budgeted at about $150M, could create up to 2,000 jobs, the government said. Last month, the government provided $20M in new funding to attract international productions and said it was committed to raising the location rebate if the Oz dollar remains high, but it did not set a time.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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