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Remember how David Fincher is set to direct a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea revamp for Disney? Well, Fincher and the Mouse House are not alone. According to THR’s Heat Vision Blog, 20th Century Fox has enlisted Ridley and Tony Scott as producers for a “Leagues” film with Travis Beacham (Clash of the Titans) on script duty. Although he’s not officially attached to the project, there have been talks to have director Timur Bekmambetov come on board. Bekmambetov is best known for his 2008 action flick Wanted.
The 1954 Disney adaptation starring Kirk Douglas is the most famous film adaptation, but “Leagues” is a public domain. In other words, anyone who wants to can make a film out of it.
Fox has been keeping this idea under wraps for quite some time. In fact, this project was conceived after the infamous writers strike. However, Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum) still has to write a script for the Disney adaptation.
Although both films are adaptations of “Leagues,” that does not indicate that both films will be similar. According to insiders, the Fox adaptation will take place in the future, but will still keep true to the structure of the novel. The apparent theory here is that a more modern, science-fiction spin on the classic will work better than if the film maintained the same setting as the book. No details are known of the Disney adaptation. Also questionable is the type of content that will be found. Disney will no doubt abstain from any content that cannot be deemed “family-friendly,” but Fox might make an edgier film.
Hollywood is known for pushing such hot commodities. For example, there are two adaptations of The Three Musketeers in the works: one from Summit and Paul W.S. Anderson and another from Warner Brothers and Doug Liman. It will be interesting to see which version of “Leagues” hits theaters first. More than likely, it will be Fox’s version, since it has a significant head start on Disney in terms of script.