News that Steven Soderbergh has recently announced his plans to make a 3-D rock ‘n’ roll style musical about Cleopatra may have had Hollywood bosses a little worried about what initially seems to be a pretty mad idea. But on closer inspection the project sounds quite intriguing.
Although the casting is said to be unconfirmed as yet, Soderbergh is reportedly pursuing Catherine Zeta Jones to play the famous Queen, and Hugh Jackman to co-star as her tragic lover Marc Antony. If able to secure his leading couple, Soderbergh looks to have a potential, if unconventional hit on his hands. With her exotic looks and dark hair, Zeta Jones is a dead ringer for Cleo (the planned working title of the film), and Jackman’s old fashioned Hollywood style will surely translate perfectly in the role of Antony. Most importantly, both have proved they can sing: Jackman in Happy Feet and Oklahoma, and Zeta Jones in Chicago and a short (albeit ill fated) pop career, so neither are strangers to the world of musicals.
The film doesn’t have much to live up to when compared to Mankiewicz’s Cleopatra. The 1963 version starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton was a box office disaster, with a budget of $44m and a worldwide gross of only $62m. Cleo looks likely to be a very modern musical along the same lines as Moulin Rouge, and will hopefully emulate the latter’s success. The “rock ‘n’ roll” music for the film has been written by indie band Guided By Voices.
Soderbergh’s next project, Che (or Guerilla is it is also known), is due to be released in early 2009.
Sources: Variety, Ain’t it Cool.com