David Fincher to Direct 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Instead of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Sequel?
01.10.12 by Ryan
It seems box office receipts aren't the only way to get a sequel made these days.
Last week, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Columbia Pictures decided to keep developing the sequel to director David Fincher's adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, despite Dragon Tattoo's mediocre box office numbers (currently at $106 million worldwide on a $90 million budget). Based on the first of Stieg Larsson's international best-selling "Millennium" trilogy of novels, Dragon Tattoo's holiday opening was ultimately seen as the movie's undoing (the movie's first trailer dubbed the thriller "the feel-bad movie of Christmas"). Nevertheless, Sony decided to not only move forward with The Girl Who Played with Fire, Steig's second novel in the trilogy, but also with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, anticipating that international box office could eventually bring in $200 million to $300 million worldwide.
Dragon Tattoo screenwriter Steven Zaillian (American Gangster) is already set to adapt both novels, but Fincher is still in question. The director revealed last month that he feels no "need" to make sequels to Dragon Tattoo, and he could be too busy with another, long-gestating project.
According to The Playlist, Fincher's schedule may not align with Sony's, as Fincher is looking to finally shoot his remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Originally, McG was going to direct 20,000 Leagues, but Disney scrapped the adaptation in 2009, allowing the studio to hire Fincher to start over with the project almost a year later.
Armed with a script written by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion) and Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en) and based on Jules Verne's classic story, Fincher is now looking to shoot 20,000 Leagues "in the fall or early 2012", the exact same time Sony is hoping to shoot The Girl Who Played With Fire. The heavy CGI and 3-D production will reportedly require an extensive post-production period and, to make matters worse, Fincher is also planing to direct the pilot of an upcoming Netflix show titled House of Cards in the spring. That would keep Fincher busy until at least 2013, the year Sony hopes to release the Dragon Tattoo sequel.
Sony will retain stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, both of whom are already signed for The Girl Who Played With Fire, but retaining Fincher seems impractical. Of course, Sony could decide that they want to sign Fincher for the sequel anyway (for a payday that could exceed $10 million), change the release date plans, and push off production for a year, but, it seems unlikely — for now at least. Not that Fincher's concerned. According to the report, Fincher has an option for the sequel that will pay him $5 million whether he does or does not direct the movie, so Fincher has little reason to change his plans if he doesn't want to.