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According to Production Weekly, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is about to join the cast of Disney’s upcoming sea epic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, for which they’ve tapped Terminator Salvation director McG to helm. Months back, right after McG was announced to be attached to the project, the director had mentioned that he would like to see Will Smith in the lead role. This news today about Johnson says otherwise, or at least it tells us that McG didn’t get his first pick — which is commonplace in Hollywood.

According to our friends at /Film, the studio is looking to shoot the film sometime later this year in Australia and it has been targeted by McG as his next. Screenwriter Justin Marks, who has been attached to about 9,000 awesome geek property scripts including the long-gestating He-Man movie, has been hired to rewrite the original script by Bill Marsilli (Deja Vu). Yet despite the general connotation of rewrites, the core story will still follow Captain Nemo and his ship, the Nautilus. Here is the film’s unofficial logline:

“A fugitive whaler teams up with a naturalist, a mysterious woman and a captain of a futuristic submarine, to search for a lost underwater civilization that holds libraries of vast knowledge and a weapon with the power to destroy mankind.”

I can’t help but be a little excited here, folks. As a kid there was always a sense of awe every time I would watch the original 1955 version — Disney’s first live-action film — especially when it came down to the wicked Squid battle. As well, it will be interesting to see how McG has grown as a storyteller when Terminator Salvation finally hits theaters later this month. I have a feeling — albeit a gut feeling — that he is going to surprise some people with Terminator and it will help drum up some excitement for Leagues, which should be another grand-scale adventure. As for The Rock — lets face it, the guy is now Will Smith. Then again, Will Smith hasn’t even been Will Smith lately (I would cite Seven Pounds as a bad shot in the wrong direction). But if Dwayne Johnson is anything, he’s a solid actor with good screen presence. And depending on what tone the folks at Disney are trying to set with their movie (my guess being PG-13 at its hardest), he may work out perfectly.


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