Disney's Captain Nemo movie recruits The Wolverine director

Director James Mangold
Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Walt Disney Pictures is planning to head 20,000 leagues under the sea again in an upcoming film that will focus on the captain of the fantastic submarine The Nautilus, and The Wolverine director James Mangold has reportedly agreed to helm the project.

Captain Nemo is expected to provide an origin story of sorts for the antihero character, who was first introduced in Jules Verne’s 1870 story Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and later brought to the screen in Disney’s 1954 film of the same name. Oscar-nominated A Star is Born and The Verdict actor James Mason portrayed Nemo in that film, which also earned a pair of Academy Awards for its special effects and art direction.

As initially reported by Deadline, Mangold will likely begin work on Captain Nemo after he’s completed the follow-up to The Wolverine, which is likely to be Hugh Jackman’s final performance as the popular Marvel Comics mutant.  That film hits theaters in 2017, so Captain Nemo might not hit theaters until 2017 at the earliest.

Disney’s Captain Nemo has been in development for quite a few years, and the project has had multiple directors, stars, and screenwriters attached at various points. Prior to Mangold joining the project, Fight Club and Seven director David Fincher was briefly attached to the film. The most recent draft of the Captain Nemo script was reportedly penned Sebastian Gutierrez (Snakes on a Plane, Gothika).

In Verne’s original stories, “Nemo” was the name assumed by Prince Dakkar, the son of an Indian Raja who despises British imperialism. He is a scientific genius and a brilliant engineer who travels the depths of the ocean in a technologically advanced submarine that’s often mistaken for a sea monster. Much of his background is a mystery, though it’s implied that a great tragedy drove him on a quest for vengeance and prompted his underwater adventures. The character is often cited as one of the early examples of a literary antihero, with methods that often align with those of classic villains but a general intent that lies on the side of heroes.

Nemo was a character in both Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Verne’s 1874 story The Mysterious Island, which provided more information about his background.

Captain Nemo is one of several movie projects currently in development featuring the character and based on Verne’s story, with X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer also attached to a remake of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea for 20th Century Fox. Production on that film is expected to begin this year.

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