McG Booted From Magic Kingdom as Disney Halts Leagues
One can only imagine how the first Rich Ross-led production meeting went recently at Disney, where the new regime likely settled down at its mouse-shaped conference table, made some introductory rounds like the first day of school, and then spat gallons of coffee in unison upon realizing that their predecessors planned a new 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea adaptation directed by McG. After some debate as to whether or not it was practical joke rigged up by former boss Dick Cook on his way out the door, the executives went ahead and killed it just in case.
"Killed" might be too strong a word, but it's close enough. The project, which at one point had Will Smith rumored to play the lead and was being prepped to shoot next year, no doubt exceeded any reasonable cost and wasn't necessarily franchiseable -- at least not along Pirates of the Caribbean lines. McG wasn't going to wait around, and Disney didn't ask him to, instead pushing Leagues back indefinitely and leaving the director in the lurch between the bankrupt Terminator franchise and a Warner Bros. spy thriller he's been attached to for a while.
According to reports, Ross & Co. haven't given up on event movies like Leagues, but look at it this way: If Rob Marshall of all people is being pursued for Pirates 4, then don't expect the new gang to hand its $180 million underwater adventure to a guy whose most exciting drama this year was a prospective dick-measuring contest with Michael Bay. The drawing board is there for a reason -- use it.
· Disney docks 20,000 Leagues pic [Variety]