No matter who ends up directing Cleopatra, it’s going to be a cyclopean undertaking. The budget will be inflated, Angelina Jolie will be inflated, and the director will have to make sense of it all.
It’s unclear what it means to “like the idea” of Paul Greengrass directing, since this isn’t middle school, but according to Deadline, Scott Rudin and Sony might soon be slipping a note to Greengrass asking him “check yes or no” in regards to the gig.
The film seeks to be a grittier version than the widely known Elizabeth Taylor film from 1963, but the plan is to keep it PG-13 and in 3D. That’s unsurprising considering the budget size (which will be massive), but it’s disappointing. It’s also disappointing to see Angelina Jolie wrapped up in this role. In a way, she’s too perfect for it, and her acting in recent years has been trumped completely by her public persona. Taylor became the highest paid actress by signing on for her Egyptian epic (playing a Greek queen), but Jolie has been on the highest paid list for a long time now, and her welcome is a bit outstayed.
Greengrass is unarguably a good fit because he can do tight action, good dramatic storytelling and higher budget projects. Another choice might be Kathryn Bigelow, but she’s got her hands full for the rest of the year. Regardless, this thing will be a big deal (and possibly a big gamble) and something to keep a close eye on.
Oddly enough, the 1963 Cleopatra was the highest grossing film of the year and still managed to lose a lot of money. Sony will probably be hoping to emulate the former while avoiding the latter.