Sean Connery as Allan Quatermain
The character Quatermain is an English-born professional big game hunter and occasional trader in southern Africa, who supports colonial efforts to spread civilization in the Dark Continent, though he also favours native Africans having a say in their affairs.
An outdoorsman who finds English cities and climate unbearable, he prefers to spend most of his life in Africa, where he grew up under the care of his widower father, a Christian missionary.
In the earliest-written novels, native Africans refer to Quatermain as Macumazahn, meaning "Watcher-by-Night," a reference to his nocturnal habits and keen instincts. In later-written novels, Macumazahn is said to be a short form of Macumazana, meaning "One who stands out."
Naseeruddin Shah as Captain Nemo
Captain Nemo, also known as Prince Dakkar, is one of the most famous antiheroes in fiction and a mysterious figure. The son of an Indian Raja, he is a scientific genius who roams the depths of the sea in his submarine, the Nautilus, which was built on a deserted island.
Nemo tries to project a stern, controlled confidence, but he is driven by a thirst for vengeance and a hatred of imperialism (particularly the British Empire). He is also wracked by remorse over the deaths of his crew members and even by the deaths of enemy sailors.
Peta Wilson as Mina Harker
Formerly Miss Mina Murray, a young school mistress who is engaged to Jonathan Harker, and best friends with Lucy Westenra. After her fiancé Jonathan escapes from Count Dracula's castle, Mina travels to Budapest and joins him there.
Mina and Jonathan join the coalition around Abraham Van Helsing, and turn their attentions to destroying the Count. After Dracula learns of this plot against him, he takes revenge by visiting — and biting — Mina at least three times.
Dracula also feeds Mina his blood, destining her to become a vampire at her death. Mina slowly succumbs to the blood of the vampire that flows through her veins, switching back and forth from a state of consciousness to a state of semi-trance during which she is telepathically connected with Dracula.
Tony Curran as Rodney Skinner
Physically, he is completely invisible; he renders himself visible when necessary by the application of white greasepaint to his face and (shaven) head, and usually wears a long leather trenchcoat, a trilby, and dark pince-nez.
While Dr. Hawley Griffin from the comic is a sociopath and a serial rapist, Rodney Skinner is merely mischievous in the feature film, though it takes a long time for his teammates to trust him. No one can determine exactly what his ulterior motives are, and he is almost universally suspected of being a traitor.
Stuart Townsend as Dorian Gray
Dorian is the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art.
Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfilment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian (whimsically) expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than he.
Dorian's wish is fulfilled, and when he subsequently pursues a life of debauchery, the portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging.
Shane West as Tom Sawyer
Tom Sawyer is a Mark Twain fictional character. The character's name may have been derived from a jolly and flamboyant fireman named Tom Sawyer whom Twain was acquainted with in San Francisco, California, while Twain was employed as a reporter at the San Francisco Call.
Twain used to listen to Sawyer tell stories of his youth, "Sam, he would listen to these pranks of mine with great interest and he'd occasionally take 'em down in his notebook.
Jason Flemyng as
Dr. Henry Jekyll / Edward Hyde
Dr. Henry Jekyll is a "large, well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty with something of a stylish cast", who occasionally feels he is battling between the good and evil within himself, thus leading to the struggle between his dual personalities of Jekyll and Edward Hyde.
He has spent a great part of his life trying to repress evil urges that were not fitting for a man of his stature. He creates a serum, or potion, in an attempt to mask this hidden evil within his personality. However, in doing so, Jekyll transforms into the smaller, younger, cruel, remorseless, evil Hyde.
Jekyll has many friends and has a friendly personality, but as Hyde, he becomes mysterious and violent. As time goes by, Hyde grows in power. After taking the potion repetitively, he no longer relies upon it to unleash his inner demon i.e., his alter ego. Eventually, Hyde grows so strong that Jekyll becomes reliant on the potion to remain conscious.
Richard Roxburgh as
The Fantom / "M" / Prof. James Moriarty
Max Ryan as Dante
Tom Goodman-Hill as Sanderson Reed
David Hemmings as Nigel
Terry O'Neill as Ishmael
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a 2003 superhero film adaptation loosely based on characters from the comic book limited series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore, who is also famous for Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell. It was released on July 11, 2003, in the United States, and distributed by 20th Century Fox.
The movie was filmed in Hungary, Malta, and the Czech Republic. A character named Eva Draper (Winter Ave Zoli), the daughter of German scientist Karl Draper, was removed during editing but remained in some of the promotional material.
Eva had appeared in two scenes: One ended up on the cutting room floor, and she was digitally replaced with a different character in the other. A brief fight scene featuring Tom Sawyer and the replacement character was rotoscoped into the movie. The deleted scenes which feature Draper appear on the DVD.
Sean Connery reportedly had many disputes with director Stephen Norrington. He did not attend the opening party, and when Connery was asked where the director could be, he is said to have replied, "Check the local asylum." Norrington reportedly did not like the studio supervision and is "uncomfortable" with large crews.
For the script, the character "The Invisible Man" was changed to "An Invisible Man" since Fox was unable to obtain the rights to the titular character of H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man, and his real name was changed from Hawley Griffin to Rodney Skinner.
A Fu Manchu character was also dropped from the script. At Fox's request, the character of Tom Sawyer was added for American audiences and to give the movie some "youth appeal." Producer Don Murphy, who described the request as a "stupid studio note," later stated that the move to add Sawyer was "brilliant."
The studio put pressure on the filmmakers for a summer release. Some staff at Fox wanted it to be released in the fall, but according to the Los Angeles Times, Fox already had Master and Commander lined up for the fall.
The production ran into trouble when a special effects set did not pan out as intended, forcing the filmmakers to have to quickly look for another effects shop.
Connery was paid $17 million USD for his role, which left the filmmakers little money to attract other big-name stars for the ensemble cast.
In an interview with The Times, Kevin O'Neill, illustrator of the comics, said he believed the film failed because it was not respectful of the source material. He did not recognize the characters when reading the screenplay and claimed that Norrington and Connery did not cooperate.
Finally, O'Neill said that the comic book version of Allan Quatermain was a lot better than the movie version and that marginalising Mina Murray as a vampire "changed the whole balance".
The author of the comics Alan Moore was cynical of the film from early in its development, seeing that the two works bore little resemblance, distancing himself from the film altogether.
"As long as I could distance myself by not seeing them," he said, he could profit from the films while leaving the original comics untouched, "assured no one would confuse the two. This was probably naïve on my part."
The film opened at #2 behind Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen grossed an estimated $66,465,204 in Canada and the United States, $12,603,037 in the United Kingdom, and $12,033,033 in Spain. Worldwide, the film took $179,265,204.
Critical reaction to the film was negative, with Empire magazine giving it two stars out of five whilst criticizing the film's exposition and lack of character depth, saying it 'flirts dangerously close with one-star ignominy'.
A 30/100 approval rating on Metacritic is based on 36 reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 17% based on 177 reviews.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film one star out of a possible four stating "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen assembles a splendid team of heroes to battle a plan for world domination, and then, just when it seems about to become a real corker of an adventure movie, plunges into ... inexplicable motivations, causes without effects, effects without causes, and general lunacy."
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen earned a total of $48,640,000 in rentals with $14,810,000 from video rentals and $33,830,000 from DVD rentals. DVD sales meanwhile gathered revenue of $36,400,000.
A novelization of the movie was written by Kevin J. Anderson and released shortly before the movie. The soundtrack album was also released internationally but not in the United States.
In an alternate 1899, several high profile crimes occur in various nations throughout Europe, each allegedly carried out by nationals of other countries, leading Europe to the brink of war. An emissary of the British government, Sanderson Reed (Tom Goodman-Hill), arrives in a gentlemens club in Kenya, hoping to recruit the legendary, but now aged, hunter and adventurer Allan Quatermain(Sean Connery) to investigate the situation.
However, Reed finds that Quatermain's sense of patriotism has declined over the years, and he refuses to offer his services. Suddenly, a group of armoured men armed with machine guns appear, and begin killing the club members.
Quatermain defeats the attackers single-handed, giving chase to finish the last one, thereby surviving the club's destruction by a bomb planted by the men. Quatermain reluctantly agrees to return to England, deciding that a full scale war between the nations of Europe will quickly spread to Africa.
Some time later, Quatermain arrives in London and meets the mysterious 'M'(Richard Roxburgh), who explains his plan to assemble a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to combat the threat of The Fantom, who is the true mastermind of the current crisis, and ensure world peace, by stopping him from destroying Venice.
In short order, Quartermain meets Captain Nemo(Naseeruddin Shah), the invisible gentleman thief Rodney Skinner(Tony Curran), and Mrs. Mina Harker(Peta Wilson), whom 'M' introduces as a well-regarded chemical scientist. Skinner had stolen an invisibility formula from its creator and is now helping the government in return for an antidote.
'M' sends the group to meet up with the mysterious Dorian Gray(Stuart Townsend), whom they hope to convince to be another member of the League, but he refuses to join. While talking to Gray, Quatermain points out that a painting is obviously missing from a wall. Suddenly, the 'Fantom' and his men arrive, and the whole room erupts in a blazing gunfight, but one henchman reveals himself to be a friend of the group.
During the fight, Dorian Gray's physical invulnerability is revealed, and The Fantom escapes. The fight ends with Mina being held with a knife at her throat. Mina's eyes suddenly turn red and she rips the throat from her assailant and feeds voraciously from his neck. Mina then explains her background, regarding her encounter with Dracula and her resultant powers.
It is revealed the friendly 'henchman' is an American, Secret Service Agent Tom Sawyer(Shane West), whom a mildly impressed Quartermain allows to join them. The previously reluctant Dorian changes his mind and agrees to join the League. The League then takes Nemo's submarine, the Nautilus, to France to round up the Leagues last recruit.
In Paris, Quartermain and Sawyer capture Mr. Hyde(Jason Flemyng) who quickly reverts to the meek and haunted Dr. Jekyll. He is happy to help when he learns that the Queen will allow his return to London if he does so. With the team complete, the Nautilus sets off for Venice.
The group worry there is a traitor in their midst when flash powder is found in the wheel room of the Nautilus, and a vial of Jekylls serum is determined to be missing. Naturally, all think that the invisible thief, Skinner, is the culprit, but nothing can be done about it since Skinner is nowhere to be found.
The Nautilus sails up the narrow canals of Venice, stopping under a bridge where it can go no further. A series of bombs has been planted under the city; they start to detonate and begin toppling buildings in a domino effect, one explosion after another. The team decides that knocking one of the buildings out of the sequence is the only way to stop the chain of explosions.
Nemo has a missile that can be fired from the Nautilus at the building in question, but only if a beacon can be set in place. Since Nemo can track his "automobile," allowing it to serve as the beacon, the League piles in, with Sawyer at the wheel, and go racing along the streets of Venice.
Along the way, Gray and Mina jump out separately to fight groups of henchmen. Quatermain also jumps from the vehicle to give chase to the 'Fantom' on foot. The two fight in a graveyard, where the 'Fantom' loses his mask. Before he makes his escape, the 'Fantom' is revealed to be none other than the mysterious 'M'.
At the same time, Sawyer crashes the car into the target building, while firing a flare, which signals Nemo to launch his missile. The building is destroyed, the chain of explosions stops, and Venice is saved. Meanwhile, back at the Nautilus, the first mate Ishmael is met by Gray and blames Skinner for their troubles, but is proven wrong when Gray shoots him.
The League regroups at the Nautilus, where Quatermain reveals that "M" is behind the whole thing. The dying Ishmael appears, denouncing Gray as the traitor. A small submersible vessel suddenly breaks from the Nautilus: it is Gray, making his escape with a smile and a wave to the assembled team. Nemo sets the Nautilus in pursuit, but along the way, a record is found and played on a gramophone.
The voice of 'M' floods the room, as he reveals the scope of his plans. Everything leading up to this moment was a ruse so that 'M' could steal physical elements from each of the League members, so as to construct an army of super-powered soldiers; Captain Nemo's science, Jekyll's formula, Mina's blood, and a sample of Skinner's invisible skin. He also explains that he needed Quatermain only to capture Mr. Hyde.
'M' seeks to profit by starting a world war and selling armaments and weapons based on the powers of the League to the combatant countries. He blackmailed Gray into helping him by stealing his enchanted portrait, the missing picture from his home.
As the record is played, it's second unheard signal sets off three bombs in the ship, but Mr. Hyde is able to stop the ship from sinking, earning the congratulations of Dr. Jekyll. Following a signal from Skinner, the Nautilus follows to the Asiatic Arctic and the League travel across the frozen wastes to a cave overlooking an industrial fortress.
Skinner approaches (he had fled when he learned of their suspicions of him), and tells them that 'M' has a number of scientists and their families held as hostages and slaves in his munitions factory. The workers are constructing Nautiloi (copies of the Nautilus), while the scientists are working on an army of Hyde-like brutes, invisible spies, and vampire assassins.
Splitting up, the League infiltrates the factory. Nemo and Hyde attempt to free the scientists and their families, while Sawyer and Quatermain go after 'M'. Mina goes in search of Gray, while Skinner sets off to plant some explosives. Nemo and Hyde run into the second-in-command, Dante, who drinks a very large dose of Jekyll's formula and transforms into a huge, hulking monster to combat Hyde.
Mina has her showdown with Gray, which leads nowhere (as they are both immortal) until she confronts him with his enchanted portrait, causing him to decay before her eyes. Quatermain confronts 'M' in his lair and reveals his deduction that 'M' is none other than the supposedly dead Professor James Moriarty (nemesis of Sherlock Holmes).
As Hyde is battling Dante, the explosives go off and Dante is crushed to death by falling debris. Quatermain, while holding Moriarty at gunpoint, sees in a reflection that an invisible man (Sanderson Reed), has Sawyer held at knife point behind him. He turns and shoots the invisible villain, only to be stabbed in the back by Moriarty, who makes another escape, fleeing across the ice.
Quatermain is mortally wounded; Sawyer is forced to use the marksmanship skills that Quatermain had taught him. He shoots Moriarty before he can leave in his stolen submersible vessel. Moriarty's case, containing the secrets that Gray had stolen from the League, falls into the ocean, and Moriarty dies on the spot. Quartermain also dies soon after.
The group assembles in Africa to bury Quatermain. As the group sadly departs, a tribal witch doctor takes handfuls of dirt from Quatermain's grave and begins a ritual chant.
We are reminded of a witch doctor's pronouncement, recounted by Quatermain at the beginning of the movie, that "Africa would not let [Quatermain] die." The earth shakes violently, making the rifle that Sawyer had left on the grave shake. Lightning strikes Quatermain's grave right before the screen cuts to black.