That Jolie Cleopatra project is still alive, mega-producer Scott Rudin is still behind it, he still has Fincher wrapped up as a potential director, and how now he’s hired a new, familiar scribe to rewrite it: Eric Roth.
Cleopatra has been edging towards a modern big screen re-debut for many years now, starting with the batshit musical idea Soderbergh was toying with back in ’08, and more recently with this iteration of the project. Last year it seemed like Jolie’s Cleopatra was setting itself up to be another Hollywood spectacle of DeMillian proportions, with James Cameron and Sony pondering the possibility of it being a post-Avatar 3D epic. Cameron has since moved on with Fincher showing interest since, but that doesn’t mean it will become a stripped-down mood piece. Fincher seems quite ready to jump back into commercial blockbuster filmmaking with a CGI-dependent 20,000 Leagues (which I assume Cleopatra would have to follow), so I assume he’s thinking just as big for Cleopatra.
The Roth rewrite is interesting, if not shocking. The writer has worked with Rudin and Fincher before, but he’ll be taking on a script that was being given high praise just last year. It wouldn’t raise my eyebrow as much if Roth had written anything for Fincher other than Benjamin Button. Roth has written some films like Munich and The Good Shepherd that work on a wavelength I really appreciate, but goddamn if the man doesn’t have a tendency to rely on pandering bullshit to tell his more epic stories.
I get the feeling this project is still on a slow cooker, so we’ll be covering it for a while.