David Fincher Drops Out of ‘Cleopatra’ Film Starring Angelina Jolie

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 17th, 2013 at 11:36 am,

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?

Angelina Jolie David Fincher Drops Out of Cleopatra Film Starring Angelina Jolie

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?

Source: Vulture

TAGS: Cleopatra
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  1. I’m really starting to like David Fincher as a director. In my opinion, he is one of the best visual directors out there. So far I have seen ‘Fight Club’, ‘Se7en’, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ and ‘The Social Network’. I really want to see GWDT. Anything this guy directs will surely be amazing, though personally I’d love to see him take on either the Batman or the Spawn reboot.

  2. Wow these projects are running through directors faster than Liz Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor combined ran through husbands…

  3. How about Kathryn Bigelow, Darren Aronovsky(sp) or Chris Nolan to name a few.

  4. I actually think Ang Lee would be a perfect choice for Cleopatra.
    It’s funny because it was just yesterday that I was ranting about the fact that I don’t want to wait another 3-4 years for Fincher’s next film but I guess that’s going to be the case.

  5. no,thanks ! i´m more interested in – nhoa-.

  6. Hmmm. Another White person portraying a person of color. What’s next? Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp playng Shakka Zulu?!?

    • Not a fan of Jolie in the role, but not because of her skin tone. Cleopatra was actually GREEK.

    • actually. cleopatra was macedonian and had fair skin and light colored eyes… many macedonians still have the genetics to make them have those characteristics too.

      • You do know that macedonias are greeks right? The fact that another country goes by that name doesn’t make them greeks

  7. Actually Cleopatra was of Greek and Egyptian heritage. Her ancestors were Greek but her family ruled Egypt for over 300 years. The married Egyptians. They mixed. She was brown skinned. She is portrayed as such in all Egyptian art and historical descriptions. There has been much debate for some reason. Sadly mostly racial but I have studied anthropology, history and Egyptology. I hope this film never gets made. Angelina as Cleopatra? In this day and age? Can we please have someone who looks even SLIGHTLY Egyptian playing who is probably THE most famous Egyptian? I love David Fincher. I love Angelina. But this is so culturally irresponsible. I can’t believe in 2012 when we have a black president and so many fine ethnic actors of note are getting respect finally in this industry that they would still cast a white woman. She’s also a bit too old. Cleopatra came to the throne as a teen and dies at age 38. Even in Hollywood how are they going to portray Angelina as a teen? Unless the have someone else as young Cleopatra.. @Jose the Hatshepsut ideas great :)

    • Cultuarally irresponsible?? It is not as if they chose a blood hair/blue eyed woman.
      I have studied Cleopatra quite a bit and one thing that is very difficult for anyone to really determine with certainty is what she did actually look like. It was common in those days to portray a person through art work, as various characters or images they desired. Ere go, the images we have of her on coins and statues vary, based on what she was trying to portray in the image… Isis (goddess)? Relation to Alexander the Great? Strength (an important thing to portray as a sole woman ruler)? Cleopatra is believed to have been diplomatic, embracing the various cultures she was friendly with. She would dress in greek, roman, and other cultures fashions. She knew around seven different languages.
      We do know she is predominately Macedonian Greek. We know that the Ptolemaic pharoah blood line mixed controversially primarily (if not soley) with the same blood line for the purpose of preserving the blood line and power/control it possessed. Brother/sister marriages. We know that while other unions did occur, heirs were drawn from the union of the incestual ptolemy marriages. So, even if egyptian blood was mixed in, she still would have presumably been quite fair complected. To choose a more middle eastern looking woman could also be culturally irresponsible since there really is nothing to suggest she looked egyptian, seemingly much more likely that she looked greek.
      Angelina and Cleopatra in all reality likely have very little likeness, it is presumed that Cleopatra was not actually a great beauty… But this is hollywood not a National Geographic documentary.

    • I was having a conversation with someone about this the other day. What the public don’t understand is, with the huge budget required to finance a feature film of this magnitude there is an equal amount of pressure to make that money back many times over in order to secure investment in the film in the first place. Investors require A-list actors and creatives for movies of this scale and budget in order to secure bums on seats and capital finance. If an unknown or lesser known actor was cast in this role than Angelina Jolie, it would be unlikely that the amount of investment required for such a film would be secured. Currently, there is already a shortage of finance available in the film industry. This is the case for ALL blockbuster films. So it’s not a question of race, as much it is a financial equation. Currently, there are no dark-skinned actors with as much box office clout as Angelina Jolie, that is the real reason why she is being cast in this role. She has a proven commercial track record. So, it’s not about being racist as many people have assumed. If you don’t have an A-list cast for a film which needs a budget of over 100 million, you won’t raise the financing, period.

  8. ANG LEE – the best choice

  9. Cleopatra was Greek and to cast Angelina Jolie would be an excellent choice.

  10. Plz cut jolie from the linup, she does liz taylor disrespect. She is trash even if she is with brad pitt, the whole breast cancer thing to get implants makes sense now that I know she trying to be cleopatra. This movie will bomb…I promise you. The 63 version is amazing and when modern actors try to outdo the original its just short and crappy

  11. So what if she’s Macedonian/Egyptian/Greek/White/Black/Walrus/Antelope the point is in ancient times there was no concept of racial categorising. This was a superficial ideology created in the 19th century to separate people. Hollywood has been racially inaccurate for years! My question now is, what’s wrong with casting a Middle Eastern or Sub Saharan African to play Cleopatra? I mean it’s just acting right? It’s not an accurate casting you say? well was Johnny Depp in the Loan Ranger , Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia, Hepburn in Dragon Seed? – I could go on! Plus we don’t know who her mother was, she could have been Egyptian. Was she even a great beauty? If it’s true the ptolemaics never once married outside the family I would assume not!
    In conclusion; Hollywood suck, it’s all about the big budget not accuracy!

  12. Know am gonna get slammed for this but here is my take on Cleopatra. Hire Oliver Stome, it’s just a few hundred years after Alexander so he can Do that period epic like no one else. Angelina and Brad should produce under Plan B but she is way too old to be a 17 year old queen who died at 32? Seriously? Don’t go down the road of how old Liz Taylor was, Jolie is not nor ever will be in that category. Just know if they use Jolie we will see Brad as Mark Antony and of course his best buddy Clooney as Ceasar. It is all too horrifying to think about but sadly if they
    Use Jolie it will be too predictably bad. I think the project should be scrapped, maybe the directors are leaving because they don’t have the
    Nerve to tell Jolie this is the wrong role for her. That gilded vessel has sailed down the Nile. Am so sick of Hollywood using fame and money
    At the expensive of a good product.