Projects are picked up and dropped almost everyday, but for one studio to pick up one and drop the other simultaneously that is another story. Variety is reporting that Universal has acquired the rights to distribute Oliver Stone’s Savages. The film is based on a novel written by Don Winslow. In the book, two friends from Laguna Beach share the same girlfriend and a thriving business growing and distributing the best-quality pot on the planet. When they resist being muscled by a Mexican drug cartel, the girl is kidnapped and the ransom is every cent they’ve made for the last five years. They agree to pay but hatch an alternate plan to get her back, get revenge, and then get lost.
Stone co-wrote the script with Shane Salerno. He is hoping to star shooting in June with offers out to Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch to play the dealers and to Benicio Del Toro to play a cartel enforcer.
However, in other news, Universal has decided to turn off the music and will not distribute In the Heights. The film would have been an adaptation of the musical of the same name. ‘Heights’ explored three days in New York City’s Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights and featured hip-hop, salsa, merengue and soul music. It was nominated for 13 Tonys, winning the award for best musical. Variety cites a budget of $37 million and the inability to lock down a cast as the reasons for Universal’s decision to ditch the project.