It pays to have friends in high places. One year ago, it was announced that screenwriter, producer and frequent Ron Howard collaborator Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind,” “Cinderella Man,” “Batman Forever,” “Batman And Robin“) was gearing up his directorial debut “Winter’s Tale” at Warner Bros. with a $75 million budget and a spring shoot being planned for this year. Well, Goldsman had some trouble getting the project movie and it took some favors to keep it alive.
Vulture reports that after phone calls to pretty much everyone he knew in town, Goldsman managed to nab two of the biggest movie stars in the world, Will Smith (who appeared in “I, Robot,” “Hancock” and “I Am Legend” for the producer) and Russell Crowe, for supporting roles. About $20 million has been sliced off the budget even with their involvement, but it does mean the project is now likely to gain some serious steam. Based on the best-selling book by Mark Helprin, the fantasy film dips back and forth between 19th century and present day Manhattan and centers on the love between an Irish burglar and a young woman who is dying. Smith will play a judge in the movie, with Crowe lined up as a gangster Pearly Soames.
Clearly, these guys will be taking some pay cuts on this one, but hey, not bad to have A-list friends to get your movie made. “Winter’s Tale” is now aiming to lens in September or October. But before it can do that, Goldsman will need to find his leads to play the burglar and the girl. As for Goldsman’s prospects behind the camera? Who really knows. His producing and writing record is all over the place. That said, this is a passion project for him so we’re hoping it falls on the side of being good.