Disney Close to Deal to Make 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA the “Biggest Production Ever Filmed in Australia”; Brad Pitt Not Set to Star

     February 14, 2013

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David Fincher will require a massive budget if/when he gets 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea into production.  Fincher courted his Benjamin Button/Fight Club/Seven star Brad Pitt to headline, partly to secure a big name that would push Disney to greenlight the project.  Pitt even said he’d love to do it if “schedule and time allocation” allowed.  Contrary to reports posted earlier today, Pitt is not set to star.  However, Disney may have found a way to forge on financially with or without Pitt.  The Australian government is ready to offer a 30% tax rebate worth almost $20 million if Disney shoots the remake Down Under.  Hit the jump for details.

The benchmark is The Wolverine—Fox negotiated a one-off 30% tax incentive (compared to the Aussie standard 16.5% for foreign productions) to shoot in Australia.  The Wolverine employed 2000 locals and generated $80 million in local investment, according to THR.  Federal Arts Minister Simon Crean is prepared to extend the same deal to Disney, and claims 20,000 Leagues will be even bigger:

”If it comes off [20,000 Leagues] will be a bigger production than Wolverine. In fact, it will be the biggest production ever filmed in Australia.” [The Age]

david-fincher-20000 leagues under the seaFincher plans to shoot in 3D and estimates that the film will be about 70% CG.  Collider is located in the intersection between big adventure movies and David Fincher films, so giving David Fincher a couple hundred million dollars (pre-tax rebate) to shoot 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is an exciting prospect.

Here’s the synopsis for Jules Verne’s book to give you an idea of how Fincher plans to use all that money:

As the story begins in 1866, a mysterious sea monster, theorized by some to be a giant narwhal, is sighted by ships of several nations; an ocean liner is also damaged by the creature. The United States government finally assembles an expedition in New York City to track down and destroy the menace. Professor Pierre Aronnax, a noted French marine biologist and narrator of the story, who happens to be in New York at the time and is a recognized expert in his field, is issued a last-minute invitation to join the expedition, and he accepts. Canadian master harpoonist Ned Land and Aronnax’s faithful assistant Conseil are also brought on board.

The expedition sets sail from Brooklyn aboard a naval ship called the Abraham Lincoln, which travels down around the tip of South America and into the Pacific Ocean. After much fruitless searching, the monster is found, and the ship charges into battle. During the fight, the ship’s steering is damaged, and the three protagonists are thrown overboard. They find themselves stranded on the “hide” of the creature, only to discover to their surprise that it is a large metal construct. They are quickly captured and brought inside the vessel, where they meet its enigmatic creator and commander, Captain Nemo. [Amazon]

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea image

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