And so it begins. While TV has already been affected already by the writers’ strike, movies are now starting to feel the pinch as the likes of Oliver Stone’s Pinkville and Ron Howard’s Angels & Demons are pushed onto the train bound for delaysville. And more movies have now been forced to postpone thanks to unfinished scripts.
First up is poor old Shantaram. It’s rapidly becoming the movie that just can’t catch a break. And everything was going swimmingly for the project – adapted from Gregory David Roberts’ novel and snatched up by Warners because Johnny Depp loved the idea of playing an Australian drug addict who becomes a doctor and then helps Afghan rebels by running guns to fight to the Soviets – with Peter Weir set to helm and Depp in the lead. But then Weir departed, failing to lock his vision in with the star and producer Graham King.
It was saved from the jaws of limbo by Mira Nair, who had lined up shooting in India as soon as writer Eric Roth could trim the script for a new budget and make some adjustments. And now… It’s back in limbo, partly because the screenplay simply wasn’t quite ready to shoot, but also because of the weather – India’s monsoon season is getting ready to hit hard. That said, the director and star really want to make it happen, so chances are it’ll eventually get shooting. Just not yet.
Also hit by delays is The Nine, which The Weinstein Company is now looking to start making later next year. The adaptation of the musical was getting close to rolling with Rob Marshall directing and Anthony Minghella polishing up Michael Tolkin’s script, but Minghella had only three days to work on it before the writers’ strike shut that down.
Still, like Shantaram, the cast (including Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren and Marion Cotillard) are all still attached, and they’ll be shooting as soon as the script can be finished off. One person who won’t be hoofing is Catherine Zeta-Jones, who dropped out before the delay was announced.