Director Denis Villeneuve is in early talks to direct Sony's Cleopatra biopic. The project has been in development for many years now, since James Cameron was first tapped to direct it back in 2010. Since then, several other big names have been attached to the project (or rumored to be), including Paul Greengrass, David Fincher, and Ang Lee. The film is also expected to star Angelina Jolie as the titular Egyptian queen, although with it spending so long in development hell, the star may no longer be attached to the project.
It seemed for quite a while that Cleopatra may have been dead in the water, especially as a new TV series about the historic figure was announced as in the works for Amazon. However, new rumors have another director in the running to helm the film, meaning that Sony hasn't quite given up on a new Cleopatra movie just yet.
According to Deadline, Denis Villeneuve is currently in early talks to direct the film based on Stacy Schiff’s book. Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin are producing, and there have been no updates on whether or not Jolie is still attached to star.
Villeneuve is currently also set to direct a Dune reboot, which he has called 'the project of my life', and which could potentially conflict with a Cleopatra project. He is also about to start the press tour for Blade Runner 2049, which hits screens next month. Known for his work on Arrival, he's certainly well-versed in sci-fi, and his only previous historical work is 2009's Polytechnique, about the Montreal Massacre of 1989.
Should Villeneuve officially join Cleopatra, it would be phenomenal news for fans of the figure, who have been waiting years to see this project come to life. That said, even if Villeneuve is officially attached, it is no guarantee that the film will make it to screen any time soon. Other directors have been linked to the project and then later abandoned it, and Villeneuve's current commitment to Dune could well be a huge one - the books are extensive, and a successful Dune reboot would undoubtedly become an expansive franchise. Still, this is the first real news about a new director for the project since Lee expressed interest in 2013, and if nothing else, it confirms that Sony is still planning to move forward with the film at some point - we just don't know exactly when.
There is currently no planned release date for Cleopatra.