Empires of the Deep, Once Mermaid Island

Once upon a time it was called Mermaid Island — a US/China co-production to be helmed by the French mono-monikered Pitof [aka Jean-Christophe Comar], visual effects supervisor of such films as Delicatessen (1991), Les Visiteurs (1993), and Alien: Resurrection (1997), and director of Dark Portals: The Chronicles of Vidocq (2001), Catwoman (2004) and Fire & Ice: The Dragon Chronicles (2008). The epic sea fantasy, touted to be “the only sea world fantasy action blockbuster in movie history”, had a reported budget of $50 million, and would star Liang Yanfei and Sharon Stone. In it would be mermaids, undersea cities, giants, wizards and lots of strange aquatic monsters.


Since then, things have changed:


Yes, the title changed from its Disneyesque original to “Empires of the Deep”, which has more of an epic flavour to it. On top of that, Sharon Stone was dropped from the film after she made some remarks about a major earthquake in China that suggested it was the result of bad karma inflicted on the country due to its treatment of the Tibetans. Not only that, the budget has reportedly grown to $100 million.

Monica Belluci and Liang Yanfei are listed as starring, with Belluci rumored to be playing the Mermaid Queen and Yanfei (pictured below) playing a mermaid who falls for a mortal human (Tom Archdeacon).



For thousands of years, legends of beautiful mermaids have enchanted people from all over the globe. Their fascinating and mysterious world has always captured the imagination of humans. In film history, there hasn’t been a single movie that has uncovered and explored this mystical world. What secrets lurk beneath the depths? And why do beautiful mermaids seduce human men? “Mermaid Island” is the first underwater fantasy film to unveil and answer these questions. (IMDb)

The Undersea Palace (conceptual)

Now it seems that the director has changed as well. IMDb lists Jonathan Lawrence as filling that role.

The film is due for release in 2010.

Conceptual Creature Designs:



  • Source: Collected by Avery; IMDb
This entry was posted in Film, Giant Monsters, Monsters in general, Update. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Empires of the Deep, Once Mermaid Island

  1. Avery says:

    I’m so looking forward to this big budget monster flick! Can’t wait!

  2. Victor Tonita says:

    But for Beluci and Archdeacon, the cast so far consists in no -names only (the film director included).
    For a blockbuster, they would need a more experienced film director and some pretty pretty western talent as well. Is Miss Yanfei somebody’s favorite? She has no credits whatsoever!
    Other than that, hopefully the film will be a succes and fill the theatres.

  3. Marius says:

    The cast consisting of no-names for the most part doesn’t automatically mean it will be a bad movie.
    The cast of LotR didn’t have so many big names in it too. Also Peter Jackson was no big name before LotR. Nevertheless the LotR films are some of the greatest movies ever produced.
    A big name does not make a good actor/director/whatever, the same applys vice versa, being a no-name doesn’t mean being a bad actor/director/..

  4. someguy says:

    the actor Maxx Maulion is definitely an up and comer!

  5. Mario says:

    The “Empires of the Deep” facebook group:

    Images, Information and more…

  6. fuji says:

    Jonathan Lawrence is a perfectionist, in the good sense, and the film so far looks beautiful, has great sets, and a classic big budget feel. The actors are pulling off some great performances, even in the smaller roles, and the crew, including the camera crew, are also very good. The big question is the writer/producer Jiang, who seems dead set on destroying what might otherwise be an exciting film, due to his total lack of experience as a writer or film producer (major re -writes were necessary and Jiang fought them all the way), as well as his famously unsavory methods and tactics. Many contracts have been broken by him already and many people have walked off.

    But hopefully Lawrence can prevail and this can be a success. So far, it looks good but there is a long ways to go yet.

  7. deadpoets50 says:

    What is the latest news on Jonathan L. leaving the project????????

  8. deadpoets50 says:

    last two weeks of comments are missing; what is the conspiracey?

  9. Pingback: Undead Backbrain » Blog Archive » Designing an Undersea Empire

  10. amymarieamg@hotmail.com says:

    i am just wondering i came across some pictures for this movie but have looked for it online for 3 hours now and can not find when it came out or if it is i would like to watch it if the movie is anywhere near as good as the costumes it would be great

  11. V.K. Syrcen says:

    I love mermaids. Call it an obsession, so I can’t wait to hear the ‘reasons’ for seducing men, other than sex sells!
    I just hope, beg the producers, Derketo’s Harem won’t be reduced to Disney-esque characters…

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