David Fincher’s 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA Is Dead; Director Likely off GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE Despite Recent Rewrite

     July 17, 2013

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With casting already underway on David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel Gone Girl, it’s no surprise to learn that his planned big-budget feature 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is kaput.  A couple months ago, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that production had been pushed back to 2014 due to the inability to find a lead actor to commit to the project.  However, The Playlist reports that the movie has been dead for months, and the report was “apparently a desperate bid by the Aussie government to entice the filmmakers and producers into continuing with this project that would bring millions of dollars in jobs to their movie industry.”

Fincher did try his damndest to make the picture happen, but couldn’t wrangle a bankable lead actor.  Brad Pitt passed to do Fury, Matt Damon and Daniel Craig didn’t want to commit to the a 140-day shoot away from their families, Channing Tatum wasn’t seen as a bankable enough, and Fincher didn’t agree with Disney’s suggestion to cast Chris Hemsworth.  Rather than continue fighting for his expensive project that was already a risky proposition for Disney (and one that now seems ludicrous considering the massive failures the studio had in trying to adapt older properties with John Carter and The Lone Ranger), Fincher moved to Gone Girl.  So where does that leave his other major project, The Girl Who Played with Fire?  Hit the jump for more.

the-girl-who-played-with-fire-book-coverLike 20,000 Leagues, Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl Who Played with Fire was also running into problems.  When we last reported on the second installment in the Millennium Trilogy, the project had hit a snag with Sony wanting to cut costs, but also having to reckon with Daniel Craig’s higher payday due to the success of Skyfall.  There was the possibility of writing his character out of the picture, but that would require paying screenwriter Steve Zaillian even more money to work on a script that was already deemed production ready.

According to The Playlist, the studio hired Fincher’s Se7en screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker to re-write the script, and he’s reportedly almost finished.  However, the new problem is the production window.  Apparently, the studio has come to terms on paying Craig, but now there’s almost no time for both him and Fincher to make the film.  Fincher is planning to shoot Gone Girl this fall, Craig is going to be on Broadway from October to January in the play Betrayal, so that leaves only a short amount of time in early 2014 for the two to get together, and this is assuming the director isn’t bogged down on post-production for Gone Girl.  If they can’t come together in that time frame, then Craig is off to do Bond 24, and Sony has to consider if they want to hold off on Girl Who Played with Fire until 2015.

Since THR is reporting that Fincher’s chances on making the sequel “are all but dead”, it looks like Sony isn’t going to keep waiting on the Oscar-nominated director, especially since the studio was apparently less than thriller when it was announced that Gone Girl was moving ahead in his schedule.  It’s possible the two sides could get together again, but personally I’m hoping Fincher leaves the weak Millennium Trilogy behind.

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