A while before “John Carter” set Disney’s bank accounts on fire with its financial woes, a comic book adaptation by the name of “Green Lantern” had a similar situation, failing to generate much box office heat in the overcrowded summer of 2011. Much in the way Disney has done with “John Carter,” a lot of the blame was shifted to the helmer — in the case of “Green Lantern” it was “Casino Royale” director Martin Campbell. Though if “John Carter” helmer Andrew Stanton can follow in the footsteps of Campbell as he emerges from the wreckage of his own box office flop, perhaps he’ll be doing alright for himself. While it was practically a given Campbell wouldn’t be returning to guide Hal Jordan through a “Green Lantern 2,” he’s already lined up an impressive slate of work, taking over for Joe Carnahan on the thriller “Umbra” as well as landing a gig bringing the Lee Majors-led television series “The Fall Guy” to the big screen. We suppose that’s the sort of resilience your career has when you’ve directed two great Bond films in “Casino Royale” and “Goldeneye,” or perhaps Campbell has friends in high places, and a good bit of luck.
This may actually be the case, as Campbell has lined up yet another directorial project, taking over for effects whiz and “Avatar” mastermind James Cameron on “The Dive.” Originally meant to be a directorial outing for the notoriously fickle helmer, Campbell will be working from a script by J. Michael Straczynski in this true account of the tragedy that befell freediver Francisco “Pipin” Ferraras and his wife Audrey Mestre. “The Dive” will tell the tale of the two renowned free-divers who attempt to plunge to unimaginable depths before swimming back to the surface with only a breath of air in their lungs. Mestre passed away during an attempt to improve her world record to 557.7 feet. Cameron actually captured the dive that Ferraras did in a loving tribute to the memory of his late wife, where he plunged to the exact depth that claimed his wife’s life.
It’s a tragic but compelling true story that is certainly ripe for an interesting film, and even with Campbell on board along with Cameron and his Lightstorm team of producers Jon Landau and Rae Sanchini, this could be quite a picture if it avoids the trappings of the similarly themed Cameron-produced “Sanctum.” So there’s hope here for something above your average survivor film, and we’ll be interested to see how it develops.