According to Vulture, director David Fincher has broken off talks with Sony to helm the remake of Cleopatra, which would see Angelina Jolie in the role as the infamous last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. Sony and producer Scott Rudin are clearly very passionate about the project as they are already looking for a replacement director, having drawn up a list that includes (among others) Ang Lee.
This decision does come as something of a surprise. In speaking to MTV, Fincher was very passionate about working with Jolie and his vision of the project, which would be a remarkably different take on the character in comparison to the infamous 1963 film that starred Elizabeth Taylor. He and Jolie saw the opportunity to portray her as a fearsome warrior and politician as opposed to the “sex kitten” character that Cleopatra has been portrayed as in the past.
It also would reunite Fincher with creative people which he has so far had a seemingly decent working relationship with. The film is headed up by Scott Rudin who worked closely and very successfully with the director on The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, both of which grossed over $220 million each at the box office. The latter is said to have “under-performed” but preparation on the sequel is well underway despite delays.
The film also got significant re-writes from Eric Roth who penned The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for David Fincher and the pair have had an excellent relationship since working together on that. So it is clear that Fincher hasn’t bowed out on creative grounds.
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The most likely explanation is that Fincher’s plate is currently very busy and he couldn’t make the planned schedule that the studio had for production on the film. He is currently hard at work on Netflix’s first original series House of Cards, which is set to debut next year and will probably take up a large portion of his time until release. He has directed the first two episodes of the first season and will most likely be overseeing the other episodes as they go through post production.
As for feature films, Fincher has talked for a long time about his own version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as his next project. He is currently “working on it” but has been reticent to give any further details considering no deals have been signed on his end.
Cleopatra probably just doesn’t fit in with his prior commitments and he has decided to pass for that reason. That being said, I also have the feeling that Fincher wasn’t eager to attach himself to another remake following Dragon Tattoo, House of Cards and 20,000 Leagues and is more interested in developing original material for the big screen.
So, Cleopatra will be making it to the screen but without David Fincher. No doubt a blow for Sony but they will move on and find someone else. Ang Lee is an interesting choice but I’d also like to see who else they’re chasing for the project.
No doubt we’ll hear more on that front soon.Previous