James Cameron toyed with us a few months ago when he suggested he might direct Sony Pictures's 'Cleopatra', only to confirm a few days later that he would be working on Avatar 2 and 3 instead. That left a big director-shaped hole in this huge project, which has Angelina Jolie attached to play the lead. Producer Scott Rudin (True Grit) revealed recently that he and Sony are “pretty close” to picking a director. Mysterious souces suggest the man for the job might be Paul Greengrass, the guy behind the last two Bourne films, 'United 93' and Green Zone'. To me he seems an odd match for this. His films, well the ones I mentioned at least, are all distinctly modern and 'gunny'. I'm not saying he's not capable of handling something like this but it is very different from anything he has done before. At this point Greengrass's involvement is no more than a Chinese whisper so don't delight/despair yet, it could be anyone...
The original 'Cleopatra' film is infamous for its catastrophic box-office performance which pretty much ended the production of the sword and sandal epics which had been so popular in the 50's and early 60's. Scott Rudin says that the new version will take a different approach to the historical material than that film did.
“It is a completely revisionist Cleopatra, a much more grown-up sophisticated version. She’s not a sex kitten; she’s a politician, strategist, warrior. In the Joseph Mankiewicz movie [1963's Cleopatra], 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. It felt like such a blow-the-doors-off-the-hinges idea of how to tell it, impossible to resist. We’re pretty close. A lot of directors want to do it, but there is only a handful we’ll make it with.”
The script for the film has been written by Brian Helgeland (Robin Hood) and he based it on 'Cleopatra: A Life', a biography by Stacy Schiff.
Are you excited by the thought of a Cleopatra movie and who do you think should direct?