‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’ Films Being Prepped By Two Studios

David Fincher is in talks with Disney, while 'Wanted' helmer Timur Bekmambetov may direct for Fox.

Two competing undersea voyages are being prepped for Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” One belongs to Disney, with “The Social Network” director David Fincher in talks to helm and “Bourne Ultimatum” writer Scott Z. Burns pegged to develop the script. Elsewhere in Hollywood, Fox is prepping its own adventure with Captain Nemo and his submarine, the Nautilus; sibling filmmakers Ridley and Tony Scott will produce and Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”) is in talks to direct.

The classic sci-fi/adventure novel was on the fast track for a McG-directed Disney adaptation until late last year, when the “Terminator Salvation” helmer departed after the project was put on hold indefinitely. The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog reveals that Fincher approached the studio’s new production head, Sean Bailey, some weeks ago about the project.

Fox’s project is further along, as Heat Vision blog also reports that Fincher and Burns have yet to finalize any deals. The Scotts are working with “Clash of the Titans” co-writer Scott Beacham now on developing a script. Bekmambetov isn’t confirmed, but given that Disney doesn’t yet have a script nailed down, Fincher will likely direct another film before he dives down “Under the Sea.”

There are no concerns over the rights to adapting “20,000 Leagues” because it’s in the public domain; anyone can work with it. The tone of Disney’s take is unknown, but it is believed that the Fox version would shift from a period setting to a futuristic one. It’s worth noting that this bears a resemblance to another adaptation that Bekmambetov has spoken about, a contempor
ary interpretation of “Moby Dick,”
complete with a supernaturally talented whale and psychic-powered whalers.

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