Angelina Jolie’s Cleopatra biopic might be back on track

Angelina Jolie is still lined up for the Cleopatra biopic, a movie that Sony has been trying to develop for the last six years. — AFP pic
Angelina Jolie is still lined up for the Cleopatra biopic, a movie that Sony has been trying to develop for the last six years. — AFP pic

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LOS ANGELES, April 8 — Sony Pictures has been trying to get its movie about the famous Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, off the ground since 2010, with the help of producer Scott Rudin. The recent arrival of a new screenwriter could now help get things moving again.

Moviegoers aren’t likely to see Angelina Jolie in the role of Cleopatra anytime soon, it seems. For the last six years, Sony Pictures and Scott Rudin — the heavyweight Hollywood producer behind movies such as Steve Jobs and The Social Network — have been trying to assemble all the right ingredients for success, with a famous actress for the lead role, a renowned director and a solid screenplay.

As for the cast, Jolie has been linked to the project since its beginnings. The actress still seems to be tipped for the lead role, in spite of the heated emails between the producer and the studio revealed when Sony was hacked in late 2014. Called a “spoiled brat” by Scott Rudin in one of the leaked messages, the star delayed filming the Cleopatra movie twice — once to direct her own feature film, Unbroken, and a second time over problems with the script.

In fact, the script is one of the movie’s major stumbling blocks. After first being assigned to Eric Roth (Forrest Gump), screenwriting was then switched to Brian Helgeland (Mystic River). Their work — based on the Stacy Schiff biography, Cleopatra: A Life — didn’t prove entirely satisfactory to the production crew or the actress. David Scarpa has now been drafted in to rework the script, after having penned the Daredevil big-screen reboot.

But there’s still one major unknown about this movie, as, for the time being, it has no director. Several big Hollywood names have been floated over the last six years. At first, the film seemed destined for James Cameron, but the director turned it down to focus on a follow-up for Avatar. Paul Greengrass, David Fincher and Ang Lee have also been linked to the project, as well as Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott and Swedish director Tomas Alfredson (Let The Right One In, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), as suggested in leaked emails between Scott Rudin, Angelina Jolie and Sony. — AFP-Relaxnews

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