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Angelina Jolie Confirms That She Wants David Fincher To Helm ‘Cleopatra’

Angelina Jolie Confirms That She Wants David Fincher To Helm 'Cleopatra'

Also Producing, But Not Yet Directing, Churchill/Roosevelt Film With Anthony Hopkins

Angelina Jolie‘s a funny one. She’s a good actress and a giant movie star, but at least for this writer, she’s barely made any good movies. Michael Winterbottom‘s “A Mighty Heart,” which features the actress’ best performance, is great (and underrated), and “Girl, Interrupted,” “Changeling” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” all have their defenders, but personally we can’t find much to like in any of them. But, if the actress gets her way, there’s one project on her dance card which certainly has our attention.

The actress is attached to star as the legendary Egyptian queen in “Cleopatra” for “The Social Network” producer Scott Rudin, and the two have been making their way through Hollywood’s A-list directors to find the right man to helm it, with both James Cameron and Paul Greengrass flirting with the film before ultimately turning it down. MTV caught up with Jolie at Cannes, where she’s currently promoting “Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom,” and the actress confirmed that she’s got another big name in her sights, one that’s already been connected with the film.

David Fincher, who worked with Rudin on both “The Social Network” and the upcoming “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” was reported to have been approached for the project a few months back, and when MTV asks about that, Jolie confirms that there have been talks, although “It’s all very early. Fincher’s been an old friend, so we’ve always been looking for something to do.” The director, of course, worked with Jolie’s partner, Brad Pitt, on “Se7en,” “Fight Club” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

Fincher’s theoretically meant to go on and make “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” once he wraps up “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” but we certainly would rather that he’d take on Brian Helgeland‘s Egyptian script than the undersea adventure. The fact that talks still seem to be going on is certainly a good sign, but we imagine that Fincher may not want to commit until later in the year. But if Disney can land a new director for “Maleficent,” which Jolie is attached to star in, after Tim Burton left the project yesterday, then that may become the actress’ priority. Although we hope not.

Jolie also confirms that she’s producing “Churchill and Roosevelt,” which Anthony Hopkins revealed a few weeks ago that Jolie had approached him about, although it seems that reports that she’d make it her second directorial effort after Bosnian drama “In The Land of Blood and Honey” are exaggerated. She says right now that “I just want to see it get done,” and also reports that no one is currently attached as Roosevelt. “Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom,” meanwhile, lands on May 27th.

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Video – author on Cleopatra and her book, “Cleopatra: A Life.”

All of Pulitzer prizewinner Stacy.Schiff ‘s previous books have won, or been nominated for, just about every pretigious literary award you can think of.


Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal are doing another Cleopatra because it’s based on Pulitzer prizewinner Stacy Schiff’s “Cleopatra: A Life,” based on historians’ accounts of the time, not the popular myth we’ve believed as handed down by Dante, Shakespeare, and various directors. It puts Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, and Marc Antory in a political context – Cleopatra trying to save Egypt from Roman conquest, completely upending the ‘beautiful wanton seductress whom no man could resist.’ For one thing, I’ve read Cleo was what we’d call ‘ugly’ with a hooked nose, but she had such charisma, wit, charm and intelligence, it didn’t matter. So why would Jolie, a beauty, be cast – besides being bankable and anointed by Rudin, Pascal and Schiff? How about a prosthetic nose? It worked with Kidman in The Hours, didn’t it? And who would argue that Jolie exudes strength, power and intelligence? Pascal calls Cleopatra her Gone With the Wind epic (see Deadline article). An Amazon review notes, ““assassins, political jockeying, double-dealing friends, and jealous detractors!” – sounds like great ingredients to me, whether on a small or epic scale. I’ve also read that Cleopatra won’t only focus on the principal trio, but open up to give us a sense of what life was really like in the Ancient World – whether in the Pharaoh’s palace or the lowest hovel. I guess this is where the 3D comes in.

Producer Scott Rudin reveals to Deadline that “we’re pretty close” to pinning down a director for his mega-high-profile Sony Pictures 3D movie Cleopatra starring Angelina Jolie and based on Pulitzer Prize-winner Stacy Schiff’s biography Cleopatra: A Life

So why will this version fare better? “It is a completely revisionist Cleopatra, a much more grown-up sophisticated version,” Rudin recently told Mike Fleming. “She’s not a sex kitten, she’s 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. It felt like such a blow-the-doors-off-the-hinges idea of how to tell it, impossible to resist.

Rudin, who acquired the Schiff book, is producer. Deadline has had the scoop on this project all along, from Cameron’s interest, to Jolie anxious to make the movie, to Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chair Amy Pascal deciding to fast-track this PG-13 and 3D Cleopatra after screenwriter Bran Helgeland wrote what is being described as a “brilliant script deserving of epic treatment” about the “greatest female heroine” and “what the Romans took from Egypt”. In fact, Pascal is calling this her Gone With The Wind epic.


I’m surprised that they’re is even attempting another Cleopatra. The original nearly sank 20th Century Fox and audiences today don’t really watch old-school Hollywood epics any more (aside from Titanic). I’m guessing it would be a darker, more-character driven piece but it’s still going to cost a ton, especially if Fincher does come on as director.


Yes, I hope she’s done choosing movies so she can give her family a scenic vacation or so she has a reason to exercise. While Pitt is almost manic in carefully evaluating and vacillating over his projects — and his recent choices have been excellent — she’s sometimes reckless and impulsive. It’s not just a waste of her talent but also of her box office clout. $270+M for The Tourist probably made her producers happy but she could have been supporting a much better film. Cleopatra with Fincher hopefully will be her first really good film.

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