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)
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