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Roland Joffe's 'Singularity' With Josh Hartnett Runs Into Legal & Financial Woes, May Not Be Completed

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 6, 2012 at 12:24PM

We'll be totally honest, we kind of completely forgot this movie existed or was even happening, although with this latest bit of news, perhaps it's no surprise. But let's recap a bit, shall we? In the works since '90s, and originally set to star Brendan Fraser and Aishwarya Rai, filming finally got underway on Roland Joffe's "Singularity" in late 2010 with Josh Hartnett, Bipashu Basu and Neve Campbell. The film boasts an ambitious story, first taking place in 2020, centering on a modern day marine biologist Jay Fennel (Hartnett) who undertakes a near-fatal dive to save his wife Laura (Campbell) while exploring an 18th Century merchant ship wreckage. He winds up in a Boston hospital in a dream-like coma, where he envisions India in 1778 where British captain James Stewart (Hartnett, again) is about to embark on a dangerous mission and falls in love with a Marathi warrior named Tulaja Naik (Basu). But it seems from day one, there were problems.
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Roland Joffe Singularity Poster

We'll be totally honest, we kind of completely forgot this movie existed or was even happening, although with this latest bit of news, perhaps it's no surprise. But let's recap a bit, shall we? In the works since '90s, and originally set to star Brendan Fraser and Aishwarya Rai, filming finally got underway on Roland Joffe's "Singularity" in late 2010 with Josh Hartnett, Bipashu Basu and Neve Campbell. The film boasts an ambitious story, first taking place in 2020, centering on a modern day marine biologist Jay Fennel (Hartnett) who undertakes a near-fatal dive to save his wife Laura (Campbell) while exploring an 18th Century merchant ship wreckage. He winds up in a Boston hospital in a dream-like coma, where he envisions India in 1778 where British captain James Stewart (Hartnett, again) is about to embark on a dangerous mission and falls in love with a Marathi warrior named Tulaja Naik (Basu). But it seems from day one, there were problems.

According to sources speaking to IF magazine, “It became apparent early on that the film wasn’t well budgeted and wasn’t handled well.” And that is definitely the case. The first seven-week shoot was plagued by payment problems to cast and crew members prompting work stoppage delays. As the film moved from the Gold Coast to India for four more weeks of lensing, things got worse, with Joffe apparently paying for one whole day of shooting himself. While an additional two weeks of filming scheduled for Australia never happened, 90% of the movie has apparently been shot. But good luck piecing it together.

With $15 million (!) owed to various creditors, Australian and Indian producers are each holding on to their share of the footage until this whole fiasco is resolved. However, throwing things for a further loop, Film Business Asia says "Singularity" can't qualify for up to $13 million in Aussie rebates until it's complete. So all said, don't expect this anytime soon.

This is the another international film bummer for Hartnett whose thriller "I Come With The Rain" by Anh Hung Tran has been plagued by bad reviews, and hasn't even receieved a proper release stateside. Meanwhile, for Joffe, it's another recent roadbump, as he would up recently re-cutting and re-releasing "There Be Dragons" following Samuel Goldwyn's initial, more mainstream edit.

Who knows if or when the "Singularity" situation will ever get sorted out, but Belgium's Corsan Films who initially packaged and pre-sold the film, insist it will be on the market at Cannes.

This article is related to: Singularity, Roland Joffé, Josh Hartnett, Neve Campbell


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