There's an article I've just stumbled across at the New York Observer which says that Universal are stalling on and possibly ditching outright their plans to bring Barbarella back to the big screen because they don't think Rose McGowan is strong enough an actress to lead the film. The budget some say has now exceeded $100 million (which is just insane if you ask me, Rodriguez can green screen the movie!) and after the failure of Grindhouse where McGowan was promoted heavily in the posters and trailers, the studio look like they are about to pull the plug on the movie.
Its sort of embarrassing for everyone involved, the source said. No one thinks Rose can carry the movie, but Robert wont listen.
The reason why it's so embarassing is that Rodriguez and McGowan are an item, so the producer telling the director that is girlfriend isn't talented enough or big enough of an actress to carry the movie is not an ideal situation.
Of course Rodriguez is not a guy to be meddled with. We all know what happened when Rodriguez had trouble getting Frank Miller a directing credit for Sin City, he had to leave the director's guild. Rodriguez was allowed to direct this feature at Universal but unlike other films, he is working for the execs now and he doesn't get the final say on everything. He can't do anything without the studio's approval. The source to the paper goes on, speaking of one what is believed to be producer Dino De Laurentiis stance...
Hes technically independent but has a strong connection to Universal. He wants to back Robert and his vision. But Roberts vision is blurred by Rose.
So this would probably explain why the movie has hit so much trouble lately and why although it is on the pre-strike list, we have not had confirmation of McGowan in the lead role (despite the fact she has test shot for the film) and no actual start date given. It's clear the studio want the movie made at this time but they want Rodriguez to change his stance and cast someone else. Mr. Rodriguez has responded to these comments. Does it sound like he is protecting his girlfriend or is this the genuine situation...
Universal had initially signed on for $60 million, he told the Transom, but then when we were done with the script it wound up at closer to $82 million, and they had just financed a Will Ferrell movie that was a $130 million and they even cut that down to $100.
That Will Ferrell movie being Land of the Lost, which earlier this year Rodriguez looked likely to direct as his next film before the chance to direct Barbarella came along. You can see Universal's concerns. Grindhouse ended up with less than 50% of it's budget back with McGowan pretty much in the lead and the names of Rodriguez and Tarantino on the posters. You can see their point when the budget for this comes in at over $60 million, you can't really blame them for having cold feet on this risk. And risk it surely is. A remake to a 4 decade old movie about a campy and erotic sci-fi B-movie is not guaranteed money back. Rodriguez says of the screen tests with McGowan...
She looks fantastic in the role. She was perfect for this part. She just has that daring look, a sort of classic sexiness that is also kind of futuristic.
Reports say Robert is shipping the project around other studio's with the hope of getting a studio to finance the picture as Universal won't budge on $60 million. Of course the ironic thing in this whole matter is that the original movie starred Jane Fonda who at that time was married to the film's director Roger Vadim! It looks like Universal don't want a repeat of that, and desptie Rose McGowan being perfect for the role in every way (at least I think so anyway), they don't want to take a risk on her. This project could be in trouble... (thanks to Cinema Blend for the heads-up)