Traffic writer-director Stephen Gaghan has apparently found a home away from home in the unexplored natural world. He’s currently in pre-production on Gold, a mining drama with Matthew McConaughey and Michelle Williams that will take place in the depths of the Indonesian jungle. And now, the Oscar winner has closed a deal with Disney to write and eventually direct a pitch he made that relates to famed explorer Charles Darwin.
Details were few and far between on the pitch, but it’s an adventure story about the British nationalist and geologist, whose work led to major breakthroughs in the fields of natural selection and evolution. It’s possible that the story could center on Darwin’s intrepid voyage to chart the coastline of South America, which took the form of a perilous five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle. Outside of that trip, which established him as one of the world’s eminent voices on geology, Darwin was also a diligent academic who penned many influential theories that would later be accepted by the vast majority of the scientific community.
The potential for an Indiana Jones-style adventure, re-imagining Darwin as a spirited adventurer and brilliant mind, seems high, and this is certainly an interesting project for Disney to be picking up despite its current preoccupation with re-imagining its classic fairy tales as live-action blockbusters.
Gaghan’s current project, Gold, takes inspiration from the 1993 Bre-X mining scandal in which one part of the company fraudulently reported that it had unearthed a massive gold deposit at its Indonesian site. Stock prices soared, until gold samples were found to be fake, at which point Bre-X collapsed and its shares became utterly worthless.
No cast has been attached as of yet, but we’ll keep you posted when we learn more.