When it comes to Hollywood biopics, some historical figures just can’t catch a break. While Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is rocketing toward a high profile release this fall (with Daniel Day-Lewis bearing a striking resemblance to our 16th president), the long-gestating Cleopatra remake has now hit a major snag on its way out of development hell.
According to Vulture, director David Fincher – who last we heard was looking to helm the Sony release with Angelina Jolie attached to star – has dropped out of the project. This news comes hot on the heels of the studio’s announcement that The Girl Who Played with Fire (the sequel to Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) will not make its expected 2013 release, as Steven Zaillian is still toiling away on the script.
Fincher is not currently signed on for the Dragon Tattoo sequel, but does have an option in his contract to direct it. So, with that project on hold, one is left to wonder if its postponement is somehow related to the sudden announcement that the heralded filmmaker behind The Social Network and Fight Club won’t handle directing duties on Cleopatra. Could Fincher turn instead to his planned adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or another as-yet-unannounced project?
Whatever the reason for Fincher’s departure, Cleopatra now appears to be back to square one. The troubled project has seemingly been running through a revolving door of top-notch filmmakers since 2010, with James Cameron and Paul Greengrass previously being linked to the film. Sony is currently looking into other directorial possibilities, including Brokeback Mountain’s Ang Lee.
Given the right script and scope, the film – which would be largely based on Stacy Schiff’s 2010 biography Cleopatra: A Life - could conceivably make for a impressive big-screen achievement. Although remakes are running rampant, a memorable theatrical release hasn’t covered Cleopatra’s life since the 1963 Elizabeth Taylor starrer, which still holds the record for most expensive film ever made (adjusted for inflation).
So, Screen Rant readers, do you think the time is right for a new Cleopatra? Now that Fincher is out, who do you think should take the director’s chair?