In Hollywood, the saying goes, you fail upwards. Enter Ryan Murphy, who received his big break in movies by helming the star-studded adaptation of "Running With Scissors." The fact that it was borderline-unwatchable dross didn't seem to affect his next job, the high-profile "Eat Pray Love," which somehow endeared itself to $200 million worth of undemanding Julia Roberts fans, despite being nearly as intolerable as its predecessor. So it goes for Murphy, a "mastermind" between two facile television entertainments ("Nip/Tuck," "Glee") that further remind us of a distinct chasm separating the big and small screens.
Murphy was in line for another cushy gig, the latest version of "Annie" being produced by Will Smith and starring his daughter Willow. Unfortunately for them, it appears the two sides couldn't agree on... something. The only explanation given for Murphy's departure was that "talks broke off" and it leaves the project without a guiding force. Not that this will stop Smith, who, if we're free to speculate (we are, thanks), probably has more than an iron grip on his producer's role, likely suggesting alterations to the script that Murphy didn't want to make. Or perhaps Murphy, who can now command a healthy paycheck, couldn't reach an agreement with Smith and co.
Anyway, Murphy walks away, but he is not without options, as he has a $5 million offer to reteam with Julia Roberts for an untitled film at Sony, while also running "Glee." "Annie," which will feature music by Jay-Z (really, Hova? We're friends, so we can call you that, right?), will likely motor along as Smith hires a corporate yes-man to do whatever he says for his children, because that's what the biggest movie star in the world does with his clout and integrity. Oh, and he also stars in "Men In Black 3."