Producer Scott Rudin has revealed to Deadline that “we’re pretty close” to locking down a director for Sony’s high-profile 3-D historical epic “Cleopatra,” which has Angelina Jolie attached to the title role… and Rudin and co. “like the idea” of Greengrass for the gig. The site goes on to say that Jolie has yet to discuss the possibility of Greengrass boarding the project.
Translation: Greengrass hasn’t been hired yet, but he’s likely at the top of Sony’s list. And why wouldn’t he be? Greengrass has proved with the last two “Bourne” films, the 9/11 flick “United 93” and the Iraq War movie “Green Zone” that he has a knack for making movies that deliver a perfect balance of spectacle-heavy action, compelling narrative and indelible characters. Sounds like he’s the perfect man to bring Brian Helgeland’s screenplay, based on Pulitzer Prize-winner Stacy Schiff’s biography “Cleopatra: A Life,” to the big screen… especially if Sony wants to avoid a financial debacle like the 1963 “Cleopatra” that almost bankrupted Fox.
“It is a completely revisionist Cleopatra, a much more grown-up sophisticated version,” Rudin told Deadline. “She’s not a sex kitten, she’s a politician, strategist, warrior. In the Joseph Mankiewicz movie, Elizabeth Taylor is a seductress, but the histories of Cleopatra have been written by men. This is the first to be written by a woman. It felt like such a blow-the-doors-off-the-hinges idea of how to tell it, impossible to resist. We’re pretty close. A lot of directors want to do it, but there is only a handful we’ll make it with.”
Rudin’s pal James Cameron had been keen to make the 3-D “Cleopatra,” but Fox made him an offer for two “Avatar” sequels that he couldn’t refuse. And, with Cameron is out of the picture, Greengrass sounds like the next best — if not an altogether better — thing. Let’s hope he signs on the dotted line. Then we can move on to the “who should play Antony” debate. Actually, let’s get that going now. Vote for your Antony choice in the poll below, and tell us in the comments whether you’d like to see Greengrass in the director’s chair!