For a hot minute, it appeared as though James Cameron would be switching up his directorial itinerary, sweeping into the world of ancient Egypt and helming the Angelina Jolie-starring "Cleopatra" before jetting back to Pandora for his "Avatar" sequels.
Now it seems that Paul Greengrass — who, for a similarly hot, similarly short minute, was circling the director's chair for the Cameron-produced "Fantastic Voyage" — will be taking on directing duties for "Cleopatra," the 3-D adaptation of the current New York Times best-seller, "Cleopatra: A Life."
Deadline is reporting that producer Scott Rudin has said "we're pretty close" to signing a director for the project and that sources tell the website filmmakers "like the idea" of Greengrass for the gig. Jolie, though, hasn't yet discussed the possibility of Greengrass, who left the "Bourne" franchise late in 2009.
"I hope to one day [play her], but we don't have it all together," Jolie told MTV last month about the film. "All the pieces are not together."
Sony is said to be eyeing a production start in 2011 and readily acknowledges that the budget will be massive. Rudin described the script, which has been penned by Brian Helgeland (who also wrote the "Green Zone," which Greengrass directed) and is based on Stacy Schiff's biography, as presenting "a completely revisionist Cleopatra, a much more grown-up, sophisticated version."
"She's not a sex kitten, she's a politician, strategist, warrior," he went on to explain. "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."
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