While Jules Verne fans the world over wait for Bryan Singer to deliver the wildly mediocre 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea adaptation they've always longed to see on the silver screen, China's Bliss Media has quietly put together its own feature film adaptation, and a new report from Deadline reveals that they've even got a director lined up: Brotherhood Of The Wolf director Christophe Gans. Both projects are due to go into production this fall.
That brings the total of competing 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea adaptations up to three, if we're also counting Disney's already-announced Captain Nemo movie (which, to be fair, sounds like it may be more of a prequel than a straight adaptation).
But, wait, there's a bit of a twist! I'll let Deadline tell you:
While the Chinese have remade western titles before, this is one of the rare times — maybe the only time — that it has taken a classic Western IP novel to adapt for local sensibilities. The production is looking to cast two Chinese actors to play lead roles in the movie. The film, whose script is being co-developed with Bliss Media, will move Verne’s narrative to a Chinese setting, and concept art indicates a fin de siècle, East-meets-West visual aesthetic.
From the get-go, we should assume that Christophe Gans' take on 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea will be markedly different from Singer's take (for one thing, Gans actually has some directorial vision), but from where I'm standing, recasting the parts with Chinese actors, transporting the setting, and aiming for an East-meets-West aesthetic automatically makes this the more interesting adaptation. How will Singer top that, knowing ahead of time that he won't be able to shoehorn another slo-mo Quicksilver sequence into the second act?
Stay tuned for more on all of these projects as developments occur.
(Note: header art by Ken Taylor, for Mondo)