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Australia puts $22.6M into '20,000 Leagues' remake

The Associated Press, Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 12:40am (PDT)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" will be going Down Under.

The Walt Disney Studios will film a new version of the Jules Verne science fiction classic in Australia after the country agreed to pay it 21.6 million Australia dollars ($22.6 million) to film the movie there. The inducement announced Tuesday is the biggest ever paid by an Australian government to bring in a Hollywood production.

"The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and "The Social Network" director David Fincher will direct, said Disney Asia-Pacific spokeswoman Alannah Hall-Smith.

"No casting decisions have been made," she said, so the filming schedule and locations haven't been set.

Sydney's The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Tuesday that producers were believed to have been in discussions with Brad Pitt, who starred in Fincher's "Fight Club."

The newpaper reported that Fincher wanted Pitt for the film's hero Ned Land.

The story centers on Capt. Nemo and his submarine the Nautilus.

Verne's book was made into an Academy Award-winning movie in 1954 with Kirk Douglas starring as Land and James Mason as Nemo.

The announcement comes after "The Wolverine," starring Australian actor Hugh Jackman, recently wrapped filming in Sydney. The government paid Fox Studios AU$12.8 million to film in Australia.

Gillard said the "The Wolverine" created more than 1,750 jobs, contracted more than 1,027 Australian companies and generated AU$80 million in investment.

She expects "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" will create more than 2,000 jobs.

A strong Australian dollar buoyed by a mining boom has made Australia less attractive to Hollywood as a filmmaking location in recent years.

It wasn't known how much the payment would offset the film's budget.

The securing of this film is a huge coup for the Australian film industry and for the near 1,000 local businesses that will be providing goods and services for the film," Gillard said in a statement.

"The Wolverine" in 3D opens in July in the United States, Australia and other countries.

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