Two Further “20,000 Leagues” Films Planned

It all seemed so simple a year ago, hell even a week ago. Now, everyone’s scratching their heads as no less than three film adaptations of Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” are in the works and all have some big name talent attached.

Last year there were two rival projects in development based on the book. ‘Film #1’ was a ‘Captain Nemo prequel’ setup at Disney Pictures with McG slated to direct and Justin Haythe (“Revolutionary Road”) penning the script.

Meanwhile according to HitFix, ‘Film #2’ was an adaptation penned by Craig Titley and has Sam Raimi attached as producer. In development for years and generally well regarded for its faithfulness to Verne’s work, David Fincher was circling this version.

Then ‘Film #1’ got officially cancelled back in February, a victim of Disney’s regime change, leaving only ‘Film #2’ standing up until this weekend when it was announced Fincher and Disney are negotiations to do ‘Film #3’ using a script by Scott Z. Burns (“The Bourne Ultimatum,” “The Informant”).

With Fincher seemingly ditching ‘Film #2’ for ‘Film #3’, there’s a question now as to what will happen to ‘Film #2’ which is still in active development.

Confounding the matter is ‘Film #4’ by 20th Century Fox which Heat Vision revealed today. This version has Ridley and Tony Scott attached as producers, a script by Travis Beacham (“Clash of the Titans”) and has already been in talks with potential directors including Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”).

This version has also apparently been in development for several years and sounds further along than either ‘Film #2’ or ‘Film #3’. One thing that makes it different however is that instead of a period setting, this one is set in the future even though it follows the story’s structure.

As Verne’s work is in the public domain, there are no rights issues and so anyone can adapt it. Which version will hit theaters first though? That’s going to be a competition worth watching.