Jules Verne's classic 1873 novel Around the World in 80 Days has been adapted as an audio drama, set to launch on audio entertainment platform Audible on October 15th. Toby Jones takes on the iconic lead role of Phileas Fogg, the intrepid gambler who bets that he can travel around the world in an ambitious 80-day period. Without planes and cars to assist his travels, Fogg relies on everything from steamers to elephants to complete his mission.
Toby Jones set to lead new @audibleuk Around the World in 80 Days adaptation https://t.co/B90ZurY8Vc pic.twitter.com/YVvuiWzWOq— Radio Times (@RadioTimes) September 19, 2019
As Claudius Templesmith in The Hunger Games, the voice of Dobby in the Harry Potter series and Arnim Zola in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jones has lent his acting chops to some of the biggest movie franchises of modern times. Around the World in 80 Days provides a different kind of challenge. While Verne's novel is an undisputed classic, it hasn't yet got the modern pop culture relevance of many of its contemporary stories.
You may remember the 2004 movie adaptation of the novel, starring Jackie Chan and Steve Coogan. Given it was a complete flop in the box office and panned by critics, you'd be forgiven if you didn't remember it at all. Perhaps the nature of the challenge makes it less receptive for a 21st-century audience. We're now so accustomed to travel, whether from first-hand experiences or from documentaries based on epic journeys.
A more modern trip
A trip around the world would still be a massive undertaking, even with all of the transport at our disposal. Betway have researched the various methods for circumnavigating the globe in 2019, uncovering some interesting results. It may not surprise you to learn that the trip would be quickest by plane, but it is more surprising at how quick the journey would be: just 3.3 days.
While Fogg's 80-day route took him a distance of 40,765 miles, the more efficient plane trip reduces the length to 27,788 miles. It helps that Fogg didn't take the most direct route possible on his trip that started in London. Still, he clearly got a lot of things right. Even with modern mapping methods and technology, a 21st-century boat trip around the world would take 71.5 days, which makes Fogg's (fictional) achievement all the more impressive.
Alas, none of the routes, original or modern, take the travelers into Canada. Crossing North America is most easily done by arriving in San Francisco and leaving from New York. Admittedly, speed is more important than sight-seeing in this particular task, but it does feel slightly sad that this circumnavigation doesn't take in any of the wonders of Canada.
With Jones heading a strong cast that also includes George Blagden and Lucas Johnson, perhaps the Audible retelling will inspire a new generation of listeners to undertake their own adventures. While Fogg starts from London, there's no reason why Toronto couldn't be the beginning and end of a trip around the world.