The plans for Walt Disney Pictures to produce a new adaptation of Jules Verne’s 1869 underwater adventure novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea seem to be back on track, thanks to director David Fincher, who approached the studio’s new production head Sean Bailey with interest in making the movie his first major studio tentpole project for all audiences, possibly since Alien 3 in 1992. Fincher is currently in negotiations with the studio as is screenwriter Scott J. Burns (The Informant!), who has been slated to write the new take on Verne’s classic story.
Previously, Disney adapted Vernes’ novel into the 1954 film starring Kirk Douglas that is considered by many to be one of the studio’s classics live action films. Last year, director McG had started to develop a new version of the story that focused on an origin story for Captain Nemo, and that version was fast-tracked with a $150 million budget, but was then axed soon after Richard Ross took over as Disney Chairman last year. Ross then went on record that the idea of doing a new version of “20,000 Leagues” wasn’t dead, but that they would proceed in a different direction.
Bailey had been developing the project covertly, but with Fincher and Burns in talks for deals, it seems likely the project will begin forward movement again. It’s thought that the time Burns would need to write a new script would allow Fincher to direct another movie after finishing his upcoming The Social Network for Sony.