Nautilus, the new Disney+ live-action adventure series Nautilus has cast Shazad Latif to play the mysterious Captain Nemo, the enigmatic Indian prince who steals a fantastical submarine from the East India Company and sets sail in search of adventure under the sea. Michael Matthews will direct this so-called "untold origin" story inspired by Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It's really a reboot and rewrite of Captain Nemo's story, and not for the better. In Verne's original book, Nemo, formerly the Sikh Prince Dakkar, built the Nautilus himself and took to the seas to become a legendary pirate with the most advanced sea craft on the Seven Seas.
According to Deadline Hollywood, the 10-part epic live-action series tells the "never before" told origin story of Jules Verne's most iconic character, Captain Nemo, and his legendary submarine, The Nautilus. James Dormer is on board to executive produce & write the series with Seven Stories and Moonriver TV producing.
The series' decision to rewrite Nemo as being not smart enough to design and build the Nautilus by himself and having to steal it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The writers may not have thought through the optics here. It might be construed as… unintentionally racist? Captain Nemo in Verne's stories was a highly educated and well-read scientist on top of being a Sikh prince. He was previously played in movies by James Mason, Herbert Lom, Michael Caine and Ben Cross in various movies and TV miniseries. They were decidedly not from India. It was actually Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill who brought back the faithful portrayal of Captain Nemo as an Indian man in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman comic series. Then the terrible movie version of the comics had Captain Nemo played by Naseeruddin Shah, the first time Captain Nemo was actually portrayed as an Indian and played by an Indian actor. Latif will actually just be the second.
The series begins shooting in Australia in December with support from the Australian Government's Location Incentive, and from the Queensland Government via Screen Queensland's Production Attraction Strategy. No doubt these subsidies help offset the large budget of the show.
Shazad Latif previously appeared as Dr. Henry Jeckyll in the final season of Penny Dreadful, then as Ash Tyler on Star Trek: Discovery, and the BBC series The Pursuit Of Love. Matthews, who recently directed Love and Monsters for Paramount, already has good ties with Disney recently coming on to direct Merlin for Disney's live-action team.