David Fincher Talks ‘20,000 Leagues,’ ‘Cleopatra’

David Fincher is a busy, busy man. In comparison to his Hollywood contemporaries, it seems like the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” director is always working on a new project, whether it’s live action or animated. “Dragon Tattoo” comes out today, and the prospect of directing two sequels should keep his scheduled tied up for now.

But when Fincher talked to MTV News, he was more than happy to dish on the progress of some other projects. You might not know, but he’s in the process of developing a Disney-sponsored version of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” the famous Jules Verne novel. Though the book wasn’t important for Fincher while growing up, he was fascinated by the concept.

“The idea of a post-Civil War version of science fiction and the notion of being able to breathe underwater was so radical in its thinking. That’s pretty cool,” he said. “If you’re going to do big tent-pole teenage PG-13 summer movies, it’s kind of cool that it would be this.”

Fincher also shed some light on the progress of “Cleopatra,” currently in a holding pattern. “That’s something I would love to do with Angie [Jolie]. It’s something that was brought to me that you have to take seriously,” he said. “[Producer] Scott [Rudin] has this wonderful book, and hopefully [screenwriter] Eric [Roth] can find a way in.

“I’m not interested in a giant sword-and-sandal epic. We’ve seen scope; everyone knows we can fake that. That stuff doesn’t impress in the way that it did even 10 years ago,” he said. “We expect that from Starz [now]. So that’s not the reason to do that. What is it about this character that has purchased this place in our history and imagination that is relatable today?”

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