Journey to the Center of the Earth looked like another Brendan Fraser franchise where he’d fight magical creatures, a la The Mummy. However, the sequel is going ahead with Josh Hutcherson as the star. Hutcherson played the son in Fraser’s adventure, so now he’s taking the lead.

“The movie’s going to be based around Josh, based around him now as a 17-year-old,” director Brad Peyton said. “The idea is that in the first one, he was kind of like a little kid. Now he feels like, ‘I didn’t get credit for that. I was just along for the ride but now I want mine.’ We try to bring it back to what I related to which was when I was 17 I just wanted to get the hell out of home. I just wanted to go do my own thing so we’re building a great story of that kind of idea.”

Jules Verne probably never imagined in his wildest creations that there would be a movie franchise based on his works. Now the sequel is going to draw on more of Verne’s ouvre.

“I think it changes a little bit because it’s Mysterious Island. It’s kind of taken from just Verne. One of the things that excited me was before speculative fiction came out, science fiction kind of had this H.G. Wells, Verne-y kind of slant. The idea that science fiction came from another world was H.G. Wells. Verne was that science fiction can come from our own world. So when I read the script and I talked to the producers, I was like this is a really great idea. This to me is the brand. We should look at Verne as the source material and his approach to everything. That guy has written encyclopedia entries on the coastline of France. He mapped half the coastline of France.”

Peyton’s goal is to give kids more of a real world adventure than a fantasy. “It’s about finding all this great stuff in our world and part of the movie was like how can we get kids stoked on what’s real? Like how can I make what’s real so fantastic that they love that? Which is I think what Verne was doing. You read Mysterious Island and the stuff is so real, if you crash on an island, he’s telling you how to survive.”