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David Fincher Exits 'Cleopatra' With Angelina Jolie; Sony Searches For New Director With Eye On Ang Lee

by Kevin Jagernauth
August 23, 2012 6:19 PM
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Fincher Off Cleopatra

So, is David Fincher's relationship with Sony in trouble, or does Scott Rudin simply want to get moving on "Cleopatra" starring Angelina Jolie? It remains to be seen where the truth lies, but one thing is certain: David Fincher won't be involved with the film.

The long, long gestating project has seen James Cameron and Paul Greengrass kick the tires over the past couple of years, but things seemed to gain steam with Fincher boarding in spring of 2011, with "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button" scribe Eric Roth hired to pen a draft by the end of the year. And even in December, Fincher was sharing his vision of the movie, saying it wouldn't necessarily be your standard sword-and-sandals flick. But somewhere along the way, he has left the film.

Could his duties on Netflix's "House Of Cards," where he is both directing and producing be throwing a spanner in the works, perhaps for producer Soctt Rudin, who might want to get this moving (especially since a small-screen incarnation at NBC on the way)? Or could Sony be having some cold feet after the steady but not explosive box office for the expensive "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" which went through a troubled production with Fincher butting heads with executives throughout the process? Or perhaps Fincher really does want to make "The Girl Who Played With Fire" next (even though Sony has said it won't be coming until at least 2014). Whatever the reason, it goes on without him, so who will step in?

According to Vulture, Sony is already looking at a number of options, including Ang Lee (though nothing formal has been started yet). And he's a pretty no-brainer pick at the moment, with his big epic "Life Of Pi" already earning lots of pre-release buzz and Oscar talk, and proving he can do a film on this kind of level. So why not? But as these things usually go, there are likely more names to be talked about in the conference rooms where this movie is being discussed.

Based on Stacy Schiff‘s “Cleopatra: A Life,” the adaptation had a first draft by Brian Helgeland, and unlike the infamous 1963 film with Elizabeth Taylor, this film will be from a distinctly female perspective, delving into the many facets of the historical figure as warrior, strategist, politician and yes, seductress. So it's easy to see the movie potential in this. But whose hands it lands in next remains a mystery.

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More: Cleopatra, David Fincher, Ang Lee

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  • bobby s. | October 7, 2012 11:31 PMReply

    What a huge effing BUMMER, Fincher bowing out of CLEO. Just when I began
    fantasizing about the look he'd give it. (especially after that bloated, static, talky
    1963 "epic"). Ang Lee? Please.

  • Valentine Belfiglio | August 30, 2012 4:12 PMReply

    Many people I have spoken with are most interested in this film. I hope it will created within the proper historical context.

  • Mikky | August 23, 2012 10:32 PMReply

    Thank god i hate fincher! Since "Alien 3" i don't buy him, sorry. That leave room for better directors like Luc Besson who could give something passionate and new! He has a unique way of making his women's characters UNFORGETTABLE (Natalie Portman in "The professional, Milla Jovovic in "The fifth element" and "Joan of Arc" or even Anne Parillaud in "Nikita". If not, i would like Matthew Vaughn.

  • Nihilist | August 27, 2012 9:27 AM

    Luc Besson ? One of the worst french director/producer ?

  • Alex | August 24, 2012 8:42 AM

    Since Alien 3? That's...but his entire filmmography is after Alien 3.

    That's like saying "Sorry, Since Boxcar Bertha I don't buy Martin Scorsese."

  • d | August 24, 2012 12:41 AM

    Luc Besson & Matthew Vaughn... smh

  • C | August 23, 2012 10:21 PMReply

    I never saw this as a project that would benefit from his signature style. I can't really imagine him doing an period piece on such a grand scope like this.

  • The High Roller ( | August 23, 2012 9:17 PMReply

    David Fincher NEEDS to come back for both "The Girl who Played with Fire" and "The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest". The series has his name written all over it, and from what we saw in the Dragon Tattoo bonus features, Fincher has extensive knowledge of the series, from it's characters to it's underlying themes. He also has a bond with Rooney Mara that is palpable.

    I will be disappointed if David Fincher does not come back to direct the rest of the trilogy, even more so if it's on Sony's part.

  • FinchFan | August 23, 2012 8:58 PMReply

    Fincher was never attached to this in the first place...I think Angelina wanted him to do it.
    Don't really think he'll be doing anything at Sony or with Rudin for a long, long time.

  • berk | August 23, 2012 7:46 PMReply

    Soderbergh/Guided by Voices' "Cleopatra" or nothing.

  • Artie | August 23, 2012 7:40 PMReply

    Angeline Jolie will presumably ruin this film. She can do action, but drama is not her strong suit. Changeling was a joke. A Mighty Heart was mediocre at best. Gia was the best thing she has ever done.

  • Chase | August 23, 2012 8:41 PM

    Troll. She was great in all those roles. Including Girl, Interrupted.

  • Sean | August 23, 2012 7:38 PMReply

    Woulda loved to see Finch in the directors chair as well. Ang Lee I dont even really see making it work. I personally think they should leave this whole project alone. Its a classic and they should leave it alone. THIS IS A SIGN to forget about it lol...

  • KitCon | August 23, 2012 6:48 PMReply

    I was curious to see what Fincher could do with Cleopatra but it did seem like they were trying to force a square peg into a round hole. It was driven more by Fincher and Jolie's desire to work together than a true fit with the material. Ang Lee seems like a better match.

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