News came this week that Ang Lee would like to direct Angelina Jolie as Cleopatra, but will he use the real Angelina? It might be safer to use a computer-generated one, like he did with the tiger in Life of Pi.
Pitt to Pilate?
According to Deadline, the ever-busy Brad Pitt is considering taking the title role in Pontius Pilate, a biblical epic based on a highly touted script by Brazilian screenwriter Vera Blasi (Tortilla Soup). The film would examine the story of Christ through the eyes of Pilate, detailing the infamous Roman governor's political rise, and the appointment to Judea that sealed his fate as one of the most vilified figures in history. Mark Johnson (The Chronicles of Narnia, The Notebook) is producing the movie for Warner Brothers. I'm intrigued. It sounds like an interesting spin on a very familiar tale, and Pitt has never been afraid to get his hands dirty for a role.
Ryan Murphy's Normal Heart
In television news, a project that took a long time to get going, Ryan Murphy's film of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart is finally being made for HBO. The outstanding cast includes Jim Parsons, Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo and Alec Baldwin. Based on Kramer's acclaimed semi-autobiographical play, it's about a gay rights activist in the early '80s, struggling to raise awareness of the growing AIDS crisis. I'm not much of a fan of Murphy's recent TV work (Glee, The New Normal and American Horror Story), and his last collaboration with Roberts was on the odious Eat Pray Love, but the source material and cast should be enough to elevate this movie.
Are You Ready for Some Contract Negotiations?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Starz has made a script commitment to the hour-long drama series Off Season, about the lives of NFL players off the field. The show is inspired by the experiences of former pro football players Keyshawn Johnson and Brian Kelly, who also serve as executive producers, along with former AMC exec Jeremy Elice and Eric Amadio (After Sex, who'll script the show). A premium cable drama offers a chance to examine all of the NFL's dirty secrets, but with executive producers who still have connections to the league, it remains to be seen how far they'll be willing to go.
We Can't Choose Our Family Dramas
According to Deadline, NBC has given a pilot order for a new series from Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey (Friday Night Lights) called Bloodline. It's a pulpy action melodrama about a girl born into the middle of a feud between two warring mercenary families. She is raised by a mysterious Chinese man and forced to train to find, fight and kill her own mother. Wow, that's some logline, huh? It doesn't sound like your typical network drama. David Graziano (Lie to Me) is writing the script. I wouldn't mind seeing Kill Bill: The Series myself, but I have a hard time believing this will turn out anywhere that interesting.
Wayward Shyamalan Comes to TV
Fox is developing a new miniseries, Wayward Pines, with much-maligned filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan. Based on the novel by Blake Crouch, it's about a Secret Service agent who comes to a bucolic small town in Idaho, where two other agents have recently disappeared. An accident leaves him with a head injury, no identification, and no way to contact the outside world. He soon realizes that the sleepy town is not what it appears to be. I was thinking this might be a fun Twin Peaks ripoff, and maybe Shyamalan would do okay with it, but then I read that Chad Hodge, who created the awful The Playboy Club, is writing the script, and decided this will probably be another debacle for poor M. Night.
Are you looking forward to any of these? Which one sounds the most intriguing? Please let me know in the comments below.