If it’s a day ending in “y,” it’s a day that someone in Hollywood will determine that we need some kind of “new take” on an iconic hero. Today, that hero is the star of Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” THR reports that Columbia Pictures has just picked up Alfred Gough and Miles Millar’s spec script, Captain Nemo, in a “pre-emptive move” that seems to indicate that the studio is quite interested in getting wet with the pair and the script’s eponymous hero.
Little else is known about the script at this time, but Gough and Millar’s take on the character and story will reportedly “tackle the iconic antihero” (ouch) with “a new take” on the material. Verne’s book tracks the adventure of the brilliant scientist Nemo aboard his submarine Nautilus, which was built in secret and which Nemo operates outside the boundaries of the one thing he hates most — civilization. He’s a complicated guy.
If you’re thinking, Hey, I thought there was another Twenty Thousand Leagues movie in development, you’re right — Disney has long been working on their own Twenty Thousand Leagues film, one that once boasted the attachment of David Fincher, but that picture is still in development (Fincher reportedly left the project over budget issues). Verne’s book is in the public domain — much like “The Jungle Book,” which is currently getting its own mess of big screen adaptations — so it seems unlikely that Disney will back down from their feature, or that we won’t see another one pop up at another studio soon.
Verne’s book was first published in 1870. It has been adapted a number of times, though the most well-known take is Disney’s 1954 feature, starring James Mason and Kirk Douglas. Recently, the material was used as the basis for the strange-sounding auctioneer 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which moved the action to the modern day and saw Lorenzo Lamas (no, really) starring as Arronax, who is the narrator of Verne’s film. That film demonizes Nemo and plays up his more villainous tendencies, to insane effect (the feature is an Asylum film, so there you go).
Gough and Millar are best known for co-creating “Smallville,” though they’ve also written a number of other action-centric (and often superhero-based) outings, including a draft of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, D.J. Caruso’s I Am Number Four, Walter Hill’s Bullet to the Head, and Shanghai Noon. They also have a number of other projects in development, including The Machine, Robotech, Quartermain, Hovercar, and Jungle Cruise. Are you interested in seeing their take on 20,000 Leagues?
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