The Walt Disney Co. has assured the Australian government that it’s committed to shooting 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo Down Under next year.
Government agencies queried the studio after US websites last week reported the 20,000 Leagues remake was kaput.
IndieWire and other sites jumped to that conclusion after news that David Fincher, who was set to direct the 3D version based on the Jules Verne classic novel, will start shooting Gone Girl in September for 20th Century Fox and New Regency.
The Hollywood Reporter said budget issues had torpedoed the remake, which is said to cost at least $200 million. The theory was that Disney was unwilling to embark on another high-risk film after the debacle of The Lone Ranger.
Disney told government agencies the statement which it issued in May still stands: “Disney has confirmed that the production is still in development with casting decisions still to be confirmed, the filming of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea will not commence production in Australia in 2013 however the film remains in active development for production next year.”
In April Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Arts Minister Tony Burke announced it would give Disney a $21.6 million incentive to shoot im Australia, claiming the production would create up to 2,000 jobs and utilise goods and services from nearly 1,000 local businesses.
Disney hired Fox Production Services to work on the production and it’s been negotiating pay rates and conditions with the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
IndieWire recapped on the casting issues which have delayed the shoot, noting that after Brad Pitt turned down the lead role Fincher approached Daniel Craig and Matt Damon. The 140-day shoot in Australia was too much for both actors, it said, adding that Disney wasn’t keen on entrusting the role to Channing Tatum, instead favouring Chris Hemsworth.
Presumably Fincher could still board the remake after he finishes Gone Girl, an adaptation of Gillian Flynn's best-selling novel, and before he tackles The Girl Who Played with Fire.
Ben Affleck is attached to play a philandering husband whose wife goes missing on the morning of their five-year anniversary in Gone Girl. Among the actresses who are said to be in contention to play the lead female are Abbie Cornish, Olivia Wilde, Julianne Hough and Rosamund Pike