There is no doubt that Sony and producer Scott Rudin want big things out of the gestating "Cleopatra." With James Cameron previously sought and Paul Greengrass recently sniffing around (before opting for "Memphis"), the filmmakers have now taken the project to another very high profile name.
Deadline reports that conversations have started between Sony, Scott Rudin and David Fincher for the director to take the helm of pic that has Angelina Jolie attached to star. Based on Stacy Schiff‘s “Cleopatra: A Life,” the script by Brian Helgeland is said to be solid, 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. But there are a lot of question marks to be answered before Fincher signs on the dotted line.
He's going to be tied up for the rest of the year finishing up the highly anticipated "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and unless something has gone terribly wrong, all signs point to it being a hit. The question now is -- will Fincher return to helm the sequel "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and how soon will Sony want that film in front of cameras? Will Fincher want to return this world again or take on a new project? And will he be comfortable handing off the franchise to someone else to do "Cleopatra"? And both "Cleopatra" and "The Girl Who Played With Fire," are Scott Rudin and Sony films, so all parties will have essentially decide together what they want to make first.
"The Social Network" slayed at the box office and bowled over critics making the Fincher relationship with Rudin and Sony very, very good. "Cleopatra" will undoubtedly be a very expensive picture to mount, but with the tremendous faith they already have in the helmer he should be able to command pretty much anything he wants for the pic. However, he is also attached to make "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" for Disney. Will they offer the same kind of blank check, hands-off approach Sony would give him? Again, it's unclear and Fincher is certainly not a director who does well with studio interference. Finally, Jolie is a picky actress when it comes to directors. Will she gel well with Fincher who is known for being demanding with this actors and for his endless takes?
Lots and lots of little questions pepper this story and as Deadline notes, it's a big project knocking around with more than a few directors wanting to throw their hat in the ring. So consider this very early at this point and don't be surprised if more names crop up in the coming weeks.