Shawn Levy agrees to a ‘Fantastic Voyage’ with James Cameron

02.07.11 8 years ago 3 Comments

“Fantastic Voyage” is going to get remade in 3D.  Period.  That’s not even a statement about anything currently happening in development.  That’s just a given.

The original movie, directly by Richard Fleischer, is a cool piece of ’60s SF action about a team of doctors shrunk down to microscopic size and injected into a diplomat to save his life with a dangerous and tricky micro-surgery.  The effects are still so much fun to watch because of just how inventive the film is about heading inside a human body.

The same is true of Joe Dante’s sadly overlooked “Innerspace,” which was ILM state of the art for the late ’80s, and the best pre-CGI version of the inside of the body that we were likely to get.  Amazing stuff, and both fun and gross depending on the needs of the scene.

It makes perfect sense that it’s time to head back inside the human body for another version of biology-as-rollercoaster in the 3D CGI era, and I can only imagine what it would be like to throw D-Box and IMAX into the mix as well.  Just add an armrest that gives you a handjob, and people would never leave the theater.

James Cameron has been in charge of getting this back onto the bigscreen for a while now, and I considered it very, very good news when Laeta Kalogridis was hired to take the most recent swipe at a script.  Now comes word that after many meetings with various filmmakers, James Cameron is giving Shawn Levy a shot at making it.

You will most likely never meet anyone who has as intense a dislike for a franchise as I have for the “Night At The Museum” films, so don’t think me a Levy apologist.  I had several people I know in the industry tell me that I had the guy all wrong, though, and last year, I took a few days to head to the set of “Real Steel,” where I spent a day watching him work and got to see how he’s approaching the robotic characters in that movie.  I walked away convinced that whatever my problems with his earlier movies, Levy was a guy who seemed serious about trying new things, and his work on bringing the giant robot boxers to life was impressive and, most importantly, character driven.  Every single conversation we had about the robots was concerning the reality of them and what that means to Hugh Jackman and the young actor playing his son, what it does to the world that Levy’s building.  I spent time talking to Sugar Ray Leonard who serves as a boxing consultant to the film, and his take on Levy and how they were utilizing the knowledge of the sport that Leonard has also convinced me that Levy is a smart guy, and I’m not going to root against a guy like that.  If “Real Steel” is his first step towards this different part of his career, it sounds like “Fantastic Voyage” is going to be a big second step towards it.

Yes, there are names that were in the mix that were very tantalizing.  Paul Greengrass?  Crazy.  Darren Aronofsky?  Sure.  Totally.  Timur Bekmambetov?  I can pretty much already imagine it.  But Levy?  That’s a question mark, and maybe that’s more exciting in a case like this.  Worst case scenario, it’s a remake I can choose to ignore.  Best case scenario, we get a piece of high-energy pop candy that spins something new and fun out of a trip inside a human being.

There are a lot of smart people with their voices in the mix now, and I’m going to cross my fingers and hope this one comes together well.  Fox loves Levy, so I’m betting they’ll show this movie all the TLC it needs along the way, especially with so much riding on “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3” for Fox.  Cameron’s going to be making the film he wants to make, and it sounds like he thinks Levy is the guy to do it.  For now, who am I to say he’s not?

I’m guessing we’ll see this in 2013 sometime.  We’ll have more when there is more, but for now, I’ll mark this as one to watch out for.

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