Haythe set to sail script on 'Sea'

Fox 2000 is remaking the Irwin Allen-created “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.”

Justin Haythe, who wrote upcoming Robert Redford-Helen Mirren starrer “The Clearing,” has been set to pen the script. Jon Jashni and Kevin Burns will produce, and Allen’s widow Sheila will be exec producer.

Haythe is scripting a story in which the world’s most advanced submarine is sent on a deep-sea salvage hunt, inadvertently bringing aboard a predatory organism from the ocean floor.

Fox 2000’s Elizabeth Gabler and Rodney Ferrell are steering the pic.

Allen first hatched “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” as a 1961 feature he directed. Walter Pidgeon starred. “Voyage” was also a ’60s ABC TV series starring Richard Basehart and David Hedison.

Burns and Jashni formed Synthesis Entertainment several years ago and made a deal with the Allen estate to guide feature and TV series adaptations of his series creations, which also include “Lost in Space,” “The Time Tunnel” and “Land of the Giants.”

While pursuing the revived Allen properties through Synthesis, Burns headed nonfiction production shingle Prometheus Entertainment; Jashni is president of Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment.

Burns said Haythe was hired to give emotional weight to the tale. The British author of short stories and the novel “Honeymoon” made his scripting debut on “The Clearing” and is penning a script for DreamWorks based on an idea by Sam Mendes.

“The wonderful thing about Irwin’s creations is that the concepts are so simple, they are captured in the titles of his projects,” Burns said. “The adventure and science fiction is the easy part; it’s the characters and dialogue that are hard, and that is why we brought in Justin.”

Jashni said the project was bound for Fox because that studio was Allen’s longtime partner on series and films. Gabler’s division got it because she and Ferrell pursued it most aggressively.

“They got that we wanted to jumpstart Irwin’s franchise not only with cutting-edge effects, but an intense story with a fantastic villain,” Jashni said. “We were inspired by imagining what would happen if we put ‘Alien’ underwater.”

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