Deadline reports that producer Scott Rudin is “pretty close” to locking someone down to helm this mighty, might vessel. Nothing has been announced (or even leaked, for that matter) but it’s being reported that those in power all “like the idea” of Paul Greengrass signing on. Whether that means they actually like Greengrass, only time will tell. It’s no surprise that Sony isn’t taking this decision lightly, as the previous iteration of Cleopatra in 1963 nearly shut the doors of 20th Century Fox with its runaway budget.
It is perhaps for this reason that the name of James Cameron as director hasn’t come up in recent musings. Though he has proven to carry the Midas touch with big-budget fare such as this, Greengrass’ name indicates that the powers that be might be more interested in a grittier, more story-driven (and cheaper) take, rather than one that relies on spectacle and blue people. His resume includes the two lauded Bourne installments, as well as the divisive United 93, and less-lauded Green Zone. The Greengrass rumors alone are enough to get many to declare that the 3-D novelty has worn off, and that even aspiring 3-D blockbusters will require a story as compelling as the effects. The source material for the project, the unfortunately named Cleopatra: The Life by Stacy Schiff, has already garnered a Pulitzer, so those in line for a Yogi Bear 3-D redux had best brace for disappointment.
That said, don’t think that this won’t be a tentpole release for Sony. With the time and effort they’ve put into this project, regardless of the director, they have every intention of making this appointment viewing for just about everyone in the world with functioning eyes. And just because this epic will have “grit,” don’t be surprised to hear a funny Jewish accent from a CGI snake. I think Andy Serkis is available.