It seems like only yesterday that we were telling you about two competing projects based on the public domain Jules Verne adventure novel 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. (In fact, it was.)
Now it looks as if there is a third studio entering in to the race to get the book on screen. Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision Blog is reporting that producers Ridley and Tony Scott have been quietly developing their own adaptation for Twentieth Century Fox. Scripter Travis Beacham has delivered a screenplay which is transposes the novel’s action to the future yet keeps its story structure intact. Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov has been having discussions with the studio about helming the project, though no official deal has been struck yet.
As this version has been in development since the end of the writer’s strike in February 2008, it is much further along than the newest attempt over at Disney, which is still in the process of finalizing the deals of director David Fincher and writer Scott Z. Burns who then still have to actually write a script. Meanwhile, New Line’s 20,000 Leagues project is continuing through development by producer Sam Raimi with a script by Craig Titley that landed on the 2007 Black List. Titley’s take retains the original period setting of the novel and incorporates several sequences from the books that previous adaptations have not.
So which version is going to get to the screen first? Right now it looks like a race between 20th Century Fox and New Line, with Disney trailing a distant third. Of course, having a completed script isn’t a guarantee that your film will go immediately in to production. It should be interesting to see how this plays out.