Things may change drastically for producer James Cameron's Fantastic Voyage remake soon, as the expensive sci-fi venture could be without either a director or star attached in the near future.
Shawn Levy remains onboard to helm the flick for the time being, but word is that he may pass on the project if he's unable to convince an A-lister to sign on over the upcoming weeks.
THR has learned that Levy has set up a meeting with Will Smith, but is prepped to move ahead with other films if the blockbuster actor doesn't agree to headline Fantastic Voyage. Levy was recruited to direct the effects-heavy project earlier this year, and was at one point wanting to reunite with Hugh Jackman on the film. However, the latter's schedule is full to the brim right now - and Levy hasn't been able to find another good leading man to tackle the job yet.
While Levy remains set to re-team with Jackman on a (currently untitled) action-adventure pic sometime in the future, he is eying a handful of other immediate alternatives to Fantastic Voyage. The highest-profile project of the lot is Disney's Maleficent, which was previously being considered by Oscar-nominee David O. Russell (who's since moved on with The Silver Linings Playbook) and was being setup as a possible vehicle for Darren Aronofsky to helm at one point.
If Levy does leave Fantastic Voyage, he'll join Paul Greengrass as one of two name directors who were officially set to handle the remake, but ultimately passed on the job.
Cameron's Fantastic Voyage is a reworking of the 1966 film (itself, a short story adaptation) about a team of scientists who shrink down to molecular size and enter the body of a dying colleague in order to save his life. It is expected to be a 3D, CGI-heavy project that attempts to replicate the success of Cameron's Avatar - with regards to how it cinematically transports moviegoers to a strange and exotic world (here, the inside of the human body).
Levy has the sort of technical background to make the new Fantastic Voyage a competent effects-driven adventure. His collective filmography (Night at the Museum, Cheaper By the Dozen, Date Night) doesn't really suggest that his moving on would be a huge loss for the project, but opinions on that matter could change when his next picture, Real Steel, hits theaters this fall.
By comparison, Smith and pure sci-fi genre material has generally made for a winning combination in the past, so the possibility of him signing on for Fantastic Voyage should be welcome news - for both moviegoers and 20th Century Fox, which surely wants pre-production on the film to continue moving forward.
We'll keep you posted on the status of Fantastic Voyage as the story develops.
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