It was last November that the studio scuttled a version of the project that was being developed by director McG with screenwriters Bill Marsilli, Justin Marks and Randall Wallace all taking passes at the script. This was following the replace of studio chairman Dick Cook with Rich Ross. It is not unusual for a new studio boss to axe in-development projects started by the previous regime in favor of their own pet projects. Since reportedly McG’s Captain Nemo: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was the furthest from being ready to go into production out of all the in-development projects at the studio, it was the one sent to the chopping block.
But where McG’s take on the property was an origin story for Nautilus skipper Captain Nemo, the Hollywood Reporter is stating that Fincher’s pitch to the studio was “described as being in the vein of Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back. It will aim to be visually dazzling. ”
Fincher has been itching to tackle 20,000 Leagues for a while. Back at the early part of last year, he was reported to have been circling an adaptation of the book that Sam Raimi was developing for New Line with a script by Craig Titley. As of earlier this year, this version was still being developed by the studio. Since the book is in the public domain, anyone could make their own version, so it should be interesting to see who gets theirs started first. I expect those direct-to-DVD maestros over at Asylum will have one in production just minutes after either of these two projects gets a greenlight.