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Sony Chief Pascal Is Gung Ho on Strong Women, from Salander to Cleopatra

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 12, 2012 at 1:01PM

Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal is gung-ho on "Zero Dark Thirty." At the film's Hollywood premiere Monday night, the studio chief, who acquired the film from financeer-producer Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures, was proud of the film's tough CIA agent heroine, played by SAG nominee Jessica Chastain, who could score big during awards season. The studio is giving the movie a big awards push in advance of its limited holiday and wide January release.
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Kathryn Bigelow,  Jessica Chastain and Amy Pascal
Kathryn Bigelow, Jessica Chastain and Amy Pascal

Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal is gung-ho on "Zero Dark Thirty." At the film's Hollywood premiere Monday night, the studio chief, who acquired the film from financeer-producer Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures, was proud of the film's tough CIA agent heroine, played by SAG nominee Jessica Chastain, who could score big during awards season. The studio is giving the movie a big awards push in advance of its limited holiday and wide January release.

Pascal is pursuing another movie with a strong heroine about the most powerful woman in history: Cleopatra, to star Angelina Jolie. Read Stacey Schiff's biography: the Egyptian queen takes on the Roman Empire, commandeers ships and armies and loves and inspires both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. Pascal's waiting for the script to come back from Oscar-winner Eric Roth ("Forest Gump"). While James Cameron had to stick to "Avatar" sequels, Pascal says at least three A-listers are in line to helm the historic epic.

Ang Lee is coming off of the global 3-D hit "Life of Pi." He can do anything, basically, from Jane Austin to crouching tigers.

Ridley Scott, whose "Prometheus" was well-wrought but disappointing, has a deft touch with strong women, from Ripley to Thelma and Louise.

David Fincher, who collaborated with Roth on "Benjamin Button," just supervised pricey Netflix series "House of Cards" and directed another one of Pascal's movies featuring a tough heroine: Sony's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." Pascal says Fincher is game to return with a lower-priced model for the Steve Zaillian-penned sequel starring Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. Fingers crossed it happens.

Not a bad group to choose from. But I'd go with Lee, because he's the most sensitive artist, knows how to make a gorgeous global epic that will play across cultures, and is still hungry and fearless.

This article is related to: Women in Film, Ang Lee, David Fincher, Girl with Dragon Tattoo, Rooney Mara, Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty, David Fincher, David Fincher, Ridley Scott, Ridley Scott


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.