In the largest inducement it’s ever offered to a Hollywood production, the Australian government has confirmed it will give Disney a one-off payment of $22.5M to shoot 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo in Oz. Sources tell Deadline the greenlight on the David Fincher film is still contingent on casting, but it is expected that Fox Studios in Sydney and Village Roadshow Studios in Queensland will share hosting of the production. Disney executives had asked the federal, New South Wales and Queensland governments for subsidies which would effectively lift the 16.5% location rebate to 30%, similar to the $12.8M payment by the federal government which persuaded Fox to shoot The Wolverine in Sydney. 20,000 Leagues, which is budgeted at about $150M, could create up to 2,000 jobs, the government said. Last month, the government provided $20M in new funding to attract international productions and said it was committed to raising the location rebate if the Oz dollar remains high, but it did not set a time.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
Arts Minister Simon Crean has told Disney executives he hopes to finalize a $12.2 million payment to persuade the studio to shoot David Fincher’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Down Under. At a meeting in Canberra today Crean told Tony To, Disney Exec VP Production, he aimed to make an offer within two weeks after he secures the support of the Queensland and NSW Governments. Disney has said the film is ready to go into pre-production once the incentive is firm. Crean’s spokesman tells Deadline the government is looking at a one-off payment that would bring the 16.5% location offset to 30%, as it did to secure The Wolverine to Sydney. Disney would utilize the Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast and locations in Sydney. Locations marketing agency Ausfilm has been lobbying the government to hike the rebate to 30% permanently to offset the strong Oz dollar versus the greenback and to be competitive with other destinations. Apart from The Wolverine and The Great Gatsby (technically an Australian production), big budget Hollywood fare has bypassed Australia in the past couple of years.
David Fincher talked about his future plans with MTV’s Josh Horowitz:
MTV: Was that a book that was important to you as a young man?
Fincher: No, not at all. I was alive when a man stepped on the moon. It was awe-inspiring, the notion of that much care that NASA took. I’m sure it was the same thing for the Manhattan Project. The idea of a post-Civil War version of science fiction and the notion of being able to breathe underwater was so radical in its thinking. That’s pretty cool. If you’re going to do big tent-pole teenage PG-13 summer movies, it’s kind of cool that it would be this.
MTV: Is Cleopatra something you’re currently developing?
Fincher: That’s something I would love to do with Angie [Jolie]. It’s something that was brought to me that you have to take seriously. [Producer] Scott [Rudin] has this wonderful book, and hopefully [screenwriter] Eric [Roth] can find a way in. I’m not interested in a giant sword-and-sandal epic. We’ve seen scope; everyone knows we can fake that. That stuff doesn’t impress in the way that it did even 10 years ago. We expect that from Starz [now]. So that’s not the reason to do that. What is it about this character that has purchased this place in our history and imagination that is relatable today?
Hayley Atwell has been piped on board The Return Of Captain Nemo, a $10 million 3D sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea that hopes to start shooting January 16. David Morrissey, star of Brit TV’s Red Riding, is also attached to this Captain Nemo adventure, to be directed by Pearry Teo. Atwell — who has just tested for Universal’s Joseph Kosinski-directed Tom Cruise science fiction film Oblivion – will play the heroine Sara, while Morrissey plays her uncle, the chief adviser to President Ulysses S Grant, who frees Nemo from prison to try and discover why mysterious “sea monsters” are sinking ships up and down the Atlantic Coast. Hugh Bonneville, star of PBS/ITV period drama Downton Abbey, has already been announced as Nemo. Producer Amy Krell says she is closing the finance from U.S., Asian and UK investors, and will shoot in Romania. Like 300, The Return Of Captain Nemo will be shot entirely onstage using green screen and CGI. “We would have to double our production costs if we shot this in the States,” Krell says. Shoreline Entertainment is selling internationally. This steampunk version features some rather cool designs, such as a 19th century Air Force One and of course, the Nautilus.
Disney Announces Two New Pixar Films
Who needs Comic-Con when you can do it yourself?
That must be exactly what Disney is thinking as it continues its massive second annual Disney D23/ Expo, the “ultimate fan event” taking place all weekend long at the Anaheim Convention Center right next to Disneyland (the name refers to 1923, the year Walt Disney started his studio). It’s an offshoot of the official Disney Fan Club and includes a ginormous exhibition center with every imaginable opportunity to buy Disneyana, numerous fan events and celebrity-sighting opps, and then there was today’s centerpiece: a near-three-hour preview of movies in the pipeline from Disney, Pixar and Marvel (which announced a partnership with the company in 2009 that is just now gearing up).
Call it “Mickey Con”. It’s all a bit overwhelming, so no wonder it takes three days just to get through it all. The event continues through the end of Sunday.
After his major presentation of the new Disney slate in the gargantuan arena in front of 4200 seemingly rabid fans (and a few more restrained press members), I caught up with Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross in the Green Room for an exclusive interview in which he talked about the possibilities of a fifth Pirate.s of the Caribbean film as well as his first comments on the demise of Pirates team Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer’s about-to-shoot Western The Lone Ranger, which Deadline’s Mike Fleming first reported had been dropped by Disney due to budgetary concerns on the pricey pic. When I asked Ross if there was anything new to report he said, ”Nothing definitive. There is nothing new. I’m hoping to do it, I’m certainly hoping. I think it’s a compelling story and no one wants to work with Jerry and Johnny more than me, so we’ll see how it works.” And about the possibility of a fifth Pirates? The situation is obviously clouded with the Lone Ranger situation, but again he used the word “hopeful.”