Back in the late 90s, I was a reporter working at a newspaper in northern Ontario. I got a call one day from a friend who worked at the city’s science museum, a distinctive spot with a unique look and several key features. This friend gave me a scoop: film producers were in the city scouting the museum for a new movie.
“What movie?” I asked.
“It’s called X-Men,” she said. Well. My geek rockets fired and I had to put on a ruby quartz visor to contain my powers. As a lifelong X-Men fan, finding out that the film — which had been announced and was set up to shoot in Toronto — was coming to my city was like winning the spandex lotto.
I hustled the muscle all day, finally digging up enough of a story. Strangely, my editors didn’t see its value, but I pushed, and it made front page. But as I was talking to “unnamed film studio employees,” someone let a tidbit slip: Will Smith was in talks for the lead. This led me to a bit of a pause: Who, really, could Will Smith play in the X-Men movie? Was he going to be Wolverine? Cyclops?
It didn’t come to pass, as we all know. In fact, the movie wasn’t shot in the city at all; producers merely copied the look for Magneto’s cave and a few other sequences. I was thinking about this today, though, when I read that McG wants Will Smith to play Captain Nemo in his upcoming 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea movie.
Comic writer Alan Moore got Captain Nemo right in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (and this was carried over to the sucktastic movie version). Jules Verne wrote Nemo as an Indian prince, something subsequent filmmakers ignored. No, generations of kids saw an onscreen Nemo who looked like a typical sea captain: an old white man with a beard. Moore brought the real Nemo back, and did it well.
Will Smith can’t be Nemo. It would be epic turdity … but then, this is McG we’re talking about here.
Meanwhile, Jackie Chan is rumoured to be playing Mr. Miyagi in a remake of Karate Kid. This makes me want to watch the original again. Which I will soon do.