EXCLUSIVE: Director James Mangold has boarded Captain Nemo, an origin story based on Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea that has Sebastian Gutierrez (Hotel Noir and The Eye) working on the latest draft. Mangold is prepping the sequel to the Wolverine film he made with Hugh Jackman but will navigate Captain Nemo down the line. Getting a version of this story to the screen is something Disney has wanted to do for a long time, most recently when David Fincher was developing it (including a draft by his Seven scribe Andrew Kevin Walker) before he dropped out to direct Gone Girl.
Disney has been trying to find a compelling way to bring the Jules Verne story of Captain Nemo as he creates his warship Nautilus. The original 1954 Disney film was one of the earliest live-action pictures made by Walt Disney. (Treasure Island was the first, in 1950.) Disney famously bet his studio on a film best remembered for the giant squid scene. It became the second-highest-grossing film that year, won three Oscars and became the basis for a Disney theme park attraction.
Disney and Mangold aren’t the only ones swimming with this subject matter. Bryan Singer recently declared his next directorial outing will be a Fox version of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, after he launches X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27. Singer has a script by Rick Sordelet & Dan Studney, based on a story by Singer and those writers. Production will begin this fall, but since Disney’s film is a true origin story, it might well be different enough to be made in the future.
Mangold is repped by WME and Management 360.