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Paul Greengrass to Direct “Cleopatra”?

When I read this news, I had to blink a few times….and then a few more times after that. This is both the best and worst piece of crazy Hollywood gossip that I’ve heard in a while. Angelina Jolie and Scott Rudin have been attempting to put together a “Cleopatra” reboot for a long time. The project is a very personal one for Jolie who has shepherded the film for years, with an intent to star in the title role.

There’s a lot of things that I don’t like about the project. One being that it is Angelina Jolie in the title role. If only it weren’t her project, I feel that they could find a much more qualified actress to take on the part. The other issue, of course, is it being in 3D, which automatically downgrades my anticipation for a film by about fifty percent.

However, the news that Paul Greengrass might be helming the project is music to my ears. Greengrass is probably my favorite director working today. While his smaller projects such as “Bloody Sunday” and “United 93” (the latter I consider one of the Top 5 best directorial achievements of all time) are far superior to his big budget fare, perhaps this could be the film to not only change that, but help him break into the group of household name directors where he belongs.

Here is an excerpt from Nikki Finke and Mike Fleming’s article:

Producer Scott Rudin reveals to Deadline that “we’re pretty close” to pinning down a director for his mega-high-profile Sony Pictures 3D movie Cleopatra starring Angelina Jolie and based on Pulitzer Prize-winner Stacy Schiff’s biographyCleopatra: A Life. Rudin isn’t spilling but we hear that the filmmakers “like the idea” of the much respected Paul Greengrass although his name hasn’t even been mentioned yet to Angie who’s attached. Greengrass, who helmed the most recent two Bourne franchise action thrillers as well as Green Zone andUnited 93. He also flirted with doing the 3D Fantastic Voyage for producer James Cameron, who himself flirted with directing the 3D Cleopatra for Rudin. Love it when these things come full circle. We’re obsessed with this project and think Greengrass would be an intriguing hire, perhaps less about spectacle and more about story. “Smart, tough, political, hard-nosed…,” an insider described the director to Deadline. “Sort of the idea of Cleopatra in the book.” Not a bad thing considering that the last time Hollywood tried that subject of Cleopatra on a grand scale, back in 1963, it nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox.

One can read the full article of this interesting and potentially exciting news at Deadline Hollywood. It discusses box office and production concerns and how the first film nearly bankrupted the studio that made it.

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