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Christophe Gans takes the story of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to China

06.28.2016by: Cody Hamman

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Although there have been TV movies and animated films based on Jules Verne's 1870 novel 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA over the decades, the last "event film" version of it came from Disney way back in 1954. Now we have three dueling 20,000 LEAGUES adaptations in the works. Disney has been trying to get a remake off the ground for years, the project passing through the hands of McG and David Fincher, and currently being developed by James Mangold under the title CAPTAIN NEMO. Bryan Singer recently set up his own take on 20,000 LEAGUES at Fox. And now comes the announcement that BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF / SILENT HILL director Christophe Gans is also getting in on the Verne action.

Publisher Klark describes Verne's story in this way: 

The United States government prepares an expedition to seek and destroy a suspected sea monster, enlisting the aid of Professor Aronnax of the Museum of Natural History in Paris. Aronnax theorizes that the creature is a giant narwhal. The expedition therefore includes harpooner Ned Land, a Canadian. After months of fruitless search, they sight an immense marine object. It turns out to be a giant submarine, which sinks them.

Only Aronnax, his servant Conseil, and Land survive to be captured and taken on board the submarine Nautilus. There they meet Captain Nemo, who, because he will never release them, reveals to them the Nautilus' wonders.

Aronnax discovers in Nemo a congenial fellow scientist but also a misanthrope who has vowed never again to set foot on inhabited land. At first Aronnax is fascinated by such wonders as scenes of the ocean from the submarine's window, explorations of the sea bottom in diving gear, a funeral in an undersea coral cemetery, Atlantis by night, and an underwater volcanic eruption. Ned Land, however, grows moody and discontented, constantly planning escape.

Gans' 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA will set itself apart from other adaptations by moving the story to a Chinese setting, with concept art indicating "a fin de siècle, East-meets-West visual aesthetic."

This adaptation is being produced and financed by Bliss Media, who will also be handling the film's distribution in China. Bliss CEO Wei Han is producing with Richard Grandpierre and Frédéric Doniguian of Eskwad. Wild Bunch, TF1, and Pathé will also be co-producing and distributing.

Pre-production on Gans' film is expecting to start this fall, the same time work is supposed to begin on the Singer/Fox 20,000 LEAGUES.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Extra Tidbit: Which film are you most interested in: Mangold's, Singer's, or Gans'?

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