David Fincher Reveals Why 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Is Still Sleeping With The Fishes


Two years ago, David Fincher wasn’t immersed in the pages of Gillian Flynn’s acclaimed thriller Gone Girl; rather, the revered director was location shooting for another project that was between his crosshairs. That ill-fated production was a blockbuster adaptation of Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.

And while the film looked on track following approved tax rebates from the Australian government, disagreements over casting choices irrefutably put the brakes on Fincher’s big screen rendition of Jules Verne’s eponymous novel. So, now that the director has seemingly moved on from the underwater adventure, Fincher spoke candidly with Little White Lies and revealed why the modern retelling of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea is still sleeping with the fishes.

“You get over $200 million — all motion picture companies have corporate culture and corporate anxieties. Once we got past the list of people we could cast as the different characters in the film, once we got past one or two names which made them very comfortable, making a movie at that price, it became this bizarre endeavour to find which three names you could rub together to make platinum.”

Alas, it’s no secret that David Fincher has had similar clashes with studios in the past. In fact, part of his contract for Seven back in 1996 specifically stated that executives weren’t to alter the film’s now-infamous ending. Not to mention his unflinching decision to cast Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, despite countless auditions from a variety of actresses.

And so, it seems that the director diverged from Disney’s preliminary plan for 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea that resulted in the project returning to the proverbial shelf. It’s understood that Fincher wanted to cast Brad Pitt at the time, though the actor couldn’t reunite with the filmmaker due to scheduling conflicts — a similar fate forced Channing Tatum off the doomed project, too.

David Fincher’s incarnation of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea may not see the light of day, but fans of the director can look forward to his latest project, Gone Girl, which releases in theaters on October 3rd.