Posted on Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 by David Chen
The other day, we reported on McG’s new directing gig helming 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo. On the /Filmcast the other night, we expressed hope that Hollywood would man up and cast an ethnically correct (i.e. Indian) version of Captain Nemo, undoubtedly one of the most psychologically fascinating characters in literature. As usual, it seems our hopes were misplaced, for the most part.
Over at Latino Review, our colleague Kellvin is reporting that at the recent Terminator Salvation event, McG revealed who he really wants in the role of Nemo:
Man I’m trying to get Will Smith to do it, been trying to get a hold of him. I’ve been wanting to work with him for a long time already. That guy’s great.
While this might be better than M. Night Shymalan’s atrocious and much-maligned decision to cast four white leads for Avatar: The Last Airbender, it is nonetheless disheartening to see that a role originating from a South Asian character might go to someone who just happens to have the same shade of skin color. Putting aside arguments about ethnicity, the last time Smith played someone who was as tortured as Nemo was probably Seven Pounds, and we all know how that turned out (other instances might include The Pursuit of Happyness or Ali, but let’s not mention I, Robot or Hancock please). At the same event, McG explained that “The character Nemo in this film is more about obsession, he is obsessed and people tend to forget that when you become so obsessed you end up being the villain.” Would this really be the best type of role for Smith anyway?
Still, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo seems likely to be a mass-market Disney film, so who knows how complex a character Captain Nemo will be?