Bryan Singer Confirms He'll Soon Begin Work on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Illustration for article titled Bryan Singer Confirms Hell Soon Begin Work on i20,000 Leagues Under the Sea/i

On his 50th birthday in September, director Bryan Singer posted an Instagram photo of a script he’d co-written for a new adaptation of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, dubbing it “a story I’ve wanted to retell since childhood ... an adventure very dear to my heart.” And now, it’s happening.


The 1954 Disney version is the story’s best-known screen take—until now. Singer, who’s best-known for his four X-Men films (including X-Men: Apocalypse, due in May) as well as The Usual Suspects and Superman Returns, just confirmed the news to Deadline:

“I’m incredibly excited to be working with my friends at Fox, with whom I’ve had such a long and fruitful relationship,” he said. “Ever since I was a boy and first discovered the 1870 Jules Verne novel, I have dreamt of retelling this classic story. Without revealing too much, it contains not only the original characters of Captain Nemo, Ned Land and Professor Aronnax, but also some new and original characters and Sci Fi plot twists culminating in a timeless adventure for all ages.”


Deadline says Fox is aiming to start production in the fall, which means some casting news can’t be far behind this announcement. Though X-Men star Patrick Stewart might seem an obvious, James Mason-esque choice for Captain Nemo, here’s hoping the new film hews closer to Verne’s original character (the son of an Indian Raja) and doesn’t cast a white guy in the iconic role.

Top image: Divers from the submarine Nautilus harvest kelp and hunt fish in this scene from the 1954 film ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’, adapted from the novel by Jules Verne. The film was directed by Richard Fleischer for Walt Disney Pictures. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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The book is notable for having no women in it at all. None. You could read a certain homoeroticism into Conseil’s adoration of Arronax, and Arronax’s adoration of Nemo. But to make it a film you’d have to sex it up a bit, and if you sex it up a bit you’d turn it into something very different. It’s a profoundly unsexy book. It’s mostly lists of fish.