Sony Pictures last year made a very public attempt to hire the world's most lucrative filmmaker James Cameron for their ambitious, epic, Cleopatra blockbuster that is to star Angelina Jolie in the title role - but despite some flirtation, Cameron chose his Navi world world instead and will make two further Avatar sequels at Fox in the coming years. Now producer Scott Rudin has told Deadline that Sony are 'pretty close' to nailing down another director for Cleopatra and they 'like the idea' of The Bourne Ultimatum's Paul Greengrass helming. Presumably the guy they 'like' - is the same guy that is 'close' to taking the gig, otherwise why mention him? Despite Rudin/Sony liking Greengrass, they haven't yet gone to star Angelina Jolie with the proposal, who is after all the key aspect of this film being made. If Jolie doesn't like the idea of frantic, shaky-cam Greengrass coming on board - Rudin and Co. might have to think again but let's hope she will because Greengrass' focus will be centered on realism, it will be visceral - more about a smart re-telling of the intriguing politics and emotion of the time over elaborate sets, pristine costume designs and the glamorous spectacle of the thing. In fact, I could barely think of two more differing directors than Cameron and Greengrass and if this is to be Sony head Amy Pascal's modern day Gone With The Wind that she has promised then the hiring of the director of Green Zone, Bourne 2 & 3 and United 93 is a curios one indeed. Sony's Cleopatra is based on Stacy Schiff's novel Cleopatra: A Life and has been adapted by Brian Helgeland (Robin Hood, Green Zone) into a brilliant script deserving of epic treatment". The film will be a PG-13, giant 3D spectacle. Greengrass has been wandering aimlessly from genre project to genre project since he left Bourne 4 - briefly attaching himself to remakes of Fantastic Voyage and Treasure Island before circling WB's hot crime movie Tales From The Gangster Squad, which eventually went to Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer. We think this would be a good film for him, the chance to work with an intriguing bunch of characters in a hotbed political movie and there'll be plenty of scope for him to play to the best of his sensibilities, whilst just allowing the camera to lush over Angelina Jolie in the stale, overly talky scenes. Interesting to see how this one develops. Rudin recently said of the film;
It is a completely revisionist Cleopatra, a much more grown-up sophisticated version... Shes not a sex kitten, shes a politician, strategist, warrior. In the Joseph Mankiewicz movie, Elizabeth Taylor is a seductress, but the histories of Cleopatra have been written by men. This is the first to be written by a woman. [Editor's note - Until it was adapted for the screen by a man, Brian Helgeland] It felt like such a blow-the-doors-off-the-hinges idea of how to tell it, impossible to resist. Were pretty close. A lot of directors want to do it, but there is only a handful well make it with. That alone speaks to what is making this such an exciting project at Sony. It definitely appears to be a top shelf project and it seems like we wont have to wait long for some official word on who will bring it to the big screen."