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Sylvester Stallone Thriller ‘Headshots’ & Steve Carell Comedy ‘Burt Wonderstone’ Both Lose Directors

Sylvester Stallone Thriller 'Headshots' & Steve Carell Comedy 'Burt Wonderstone' Both Lose Directors

It’s got to be hard for a director to walk away from a feature-directing gig. If you’re lucky, you get to make a film once every couple of years, and, while some helmers are able to boost their income with rewrite work or commercials, or TV and music videos gigs, sometimes that one feature is your only income. But at the same time, you only get to make a certain number of movies in a career, and if the stars aren’t aligning correctly, sometimes the only thing you can do is pack your bags. It’s not an uncommon occurence — Guillermo Del Toro leaving “The Hobbit” and Darren Aronofsky bailing on “The Wolverine” being two recent examples — and it’s just happened on another pair of A-lister-led projects.

Deadline reports that “Headshots” the cop drama that Sylvester Stallone is set to topline for IM Global, has lost its South African-born helmer Wayne Kramer, over the ever-popular “creative differences.” Kramer hasn’t worked since the 2007 “Traffic“-style immigration misfire “Crossing Over,” and was set to make his return on an unusually-serious sounding thriller for the star, about an elder cop who teams with a younger partner for a murder investigation than spans from New Orleans to Washington D.C. While it sounded a little generic, the script came from “The Messenger” scribe Alessandro Camon, so we were hopeful it might be something closer to “Copland” for the star, and something closer to Kramer’s strong U.S. debut “The Cooler.”

But Deadline reports that Kramer clashed with his star on the creative direction of the project, and he’s now left it to focus on a self-generated film, unnamed at present, which is said to be close to financing. Could this be the Pretty-Boy Floyd biopic that Kramer was talking up last year? We’re sure more details will appear shortly. “Headshots” is now seeking another director, and Deadline speculates that Stallone might take the reins himself. Either way, they need to get moving sooner rather than later, as “The Expendables” sequel already has an August 2012 release date set, so filming on that presumably needs to get going later in the year.

First Showing also reports that Warner Bros & New Line also have a job vacancy, as negotiations have broken down between the studio and British TV veteran Charles McDougall, who had been tapped a couple months ago to direct the Steve Carell vehicle “Burt Wonderstone.” The actor was planning to reteam with the helmer — whose CV is filled with episodes of “The Office,” “Sex and the City,” and “Parks and Recreation” — on the film, which is from a script by “Horrible Bosses” writers Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, and follows a magician who finds himself surpassed by a younger rival.

However, McDougall’s now officially out of the running, and the studio is looking for a new director. Carell has a number of post-“Office” projects circulating, with both the apocalyptic drama “Seeking a Friend For the End of the World,” with Keira Knightley, and “Great Hope Springs,” with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, set to go before cameras shortly, so it doesn’t have the same time pressures as “Headshots” — but at the same time, being rudderless could see the project fall by the wayside. We advise interested applicants to forward their CVs and showreels to anyonebuttomshadyac@warnerbros.com

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