Denzel Washington Is No Longer ‘Unstoppable’

It seems that not even movies are safe in our troubled economic times. We saw Sony let the air out of “Moneyball” days before it was to start filming. Now Fox has put the brakes on “Unstoppable,” Tony Scott’s directorial follow-up to “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.”

The studio was leery of the film’s big action-heavy budget, and The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Scott, Denzel Washington, and Chris Pine had not yet signed to the film. All three were simply operating under the assumption that they’d be shooting in the fall. Now, Variety reports that Washington has formally left the project, and is looking for another film to fill his fall schedule.

“Unstoppable” was supposed to star Washington as a veteran engineer who jumps into a locomotive with a young conductor (Chris Pine) to halt an unmanned runaway train. Runaway trains are bad enough, but this one is filled with a toxic chemical cargo whose spillage will decimate a town located near a tight turn on the tracks.

Obviously, that kind of film needs an enormous budget, and Fox balked at the $107 million dollar bill. The studio is reportedly trying to whittle it down to the $90 million range, a process which included asking Scott and Washington to take a pay cut. Washington declined, though the studio is trying to entice him back with a new deal and the actor has agreed to take a look at the latest draft of the script.

The film is a pet project for the studio and they’ve kept it alive through a number of directors, including “Casino Royale” helmer Martin Campbell, who will take the reins on the upcoming “Green Lantern” adaptation. It seemed that the runaway train disaster flick was finally set to go and everyone was happy. Fox will have to decide whether their passion is great enough to pay for special effects and Washington, or whether they’ll see the this particular train go off the tracks yet again.

Do you think Denzel Washington should take a pay cut and be “Unstoppable”? Should Fox pay the actor what he wants? Or does the whole project seem like a waste of millions?