20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA Resurrected? Disney Eyeing Potential Early 2015 Production Start for Remake [Updated]

     August 18, 2014


One of the most promising projects of the past decade may have new life, though whether it still resembles its former iteration is unclear.  Filmmaker David Fincher had been developing a remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Disney for years, and it finally looked like he was ready to tackle the project after the back-to-back productions The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  He worked hard to make the film happen, but his vision for an epic, adventurous retelling necessitated a massive budget from Disney, which in turn necessitated a bankable star in the lead.  Fincher approached his pal Brad Pitt, but he opted to make Fury instead.  Then Matt Damon and Daniel Craig were considered, but neither wanted to leave their families for a lengthy shoot in Australia.  Even Channing Tatum was a possibility.

Last summer, after Fincher committed to Gone Girl has his next picture, word came that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was officially dead.  However, it appears that the film may yet have life, as Disney is in negotiations with the Australian government for tax incentives that would pave the way for an early 2015 shoot on 20,000 Leagues. [Update: It's possible that Disney may actually be trying to use the pre-approved incentive for 20,000 Leagues on the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean 5. More after the jump.]

Update: A commenter hipped us to this Syndey Morning Herald story in which it is surmised that the initial report claiming that Disney was negotiating for a tax incentive to shoot 20,000 Leagues in early 2015 was mistaken, and that Disney is actually looking to put the incentive towards Pirates of the Caribbean 5.  This makes more sense, as Pirates 5 has a pair of directors and a 2017 release date.  Our original story follows below.

20000-leagues-under-the-sea-posterTHR reports that Disney is asking the Australian government to increase its tax incentives in an effort to secure what’s planned to be the biggest film shoot in Australia’s history, adding that filming on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is planned to get underway in early 2015.  Disney had a previous agreement with Australia that secured a $21.6 million incentive for 20,000 Leagues when Fincher was in active development, but the government has since changed and Disney was afraid they wouldn’t honor the previous agreement.  In these current negotiations, Disney is now asking for an increase to 30% of the film’s budget to shoot 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in Australia.

This is an incredibly curious piece of news since we haven’t heard a single word about 20,000 Leagues since it was rendered “dead” after Fincher left.  As he’s finishing up Gone Girl and looking for his next project, has he now returned to 20,000 Leagues?  Is Disney moving forward without Fincher and on the hunt for a new director?  These questions remain unanswered, as THR’s report simply focuses on Disney’s negotiations with the Australian government.

I’m selfishly hoping that Disney and Fincher came to some agreement that would see him back onboard 20,000 Leagues (I’m dying to see what Fincher can do with an adventure story told on a massive scale), but that may be too optimistic.  What’s more likely is that Disney is moving ahead on a new iteration of the project without Fincher’s involvement.  From a business perspective, it makes sense that Disney would want to capitalize on the 20,000 Leagues brand and Australia tax incentive with or without Fincher, so I’m very curious to see where things go from here.  Hopefully more light is shed on this situation soon.

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  • Manuel Orozco

    This has got to be another one of those made up development reports.

  • ShowbizNsider

    And what does this mean for the CAPTAIN NEMO script by Gough & Miller that Sony bought a few weeks ago? Did that sale goose Disney into moving forward in order to protect their version?

  • Mixed race rich kid NYC

    Matt damon, Daniel Craig and Channing tatum are bankable stars???
    Somebody better tell the audiences so
    Outside of the James Bond movies, nobody can name a Daniel Craig pic
    Matt damon has been flopping since the last Bourne movie
    Channing tatum is only good in movies aimed to the young and gullible crowd. No one older show up for his movies unless its a male stripper pic or a Nicholas spark movie
    I don’t think young people are looking for a 20,000 leagues under the sea movie

  • ShowbizNsider
  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    The best way to make sure it’s a hit is to have Fincher w Pitt starring in it. Both seem to have great success when they work together.

    • lord jim

      Fight Club was a flop when it came out, and Fincher´s last didn´t do well either so I don´t think they´ll offer him the budget he wants.Of course I´d love to see his vision, but I certainly don´t want Disney to mess with it, and even if they gave him the money, they wouldn´t give him final cut.

    • Atlasshruggedmyass

      Pitt?! Yuck! he doesn’t for the role at all. it’s a part almost meant for “Daniel Craig”, and from what I understand Fincher/Disney also did make a offer to him but he turned it down due to the intense shooting scheduale.

  • Jim

    Only if they use the 20000 leagues mondo poster for the film

  • Jonboy

    Mark Strong as Nemo..please. I think Naseeruddin Shah was a good casting as well so let’s stick to the source material..make him an Indian character and make the ship enormous! Mark Strong is a man with amazing talent, He could pull off a war weathered Indian prince as well as he pulled of a Jordanian Badass in Body of Lies.

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