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Russell Crowe replaces Brad Pitt in State of Play

 
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Monday, November 26, 2007

Washington (ANI): Universal Pictures is hoping to rope in Oscar winner Russell Crowe for political thriller State of Play after Brad Pitt walked out of the movie. The actor made his decision final on Wednesday, Nov 21, following two weeks of struggle and meetings with director Kevin Macdonald.

Pitt's camp revealed that the reason he opted out of the movie was because of the final direction of the shooting script. The initial script had been penned by Matthew Michael Carnahan, who adapted the Paul Abbott-created British miniseries, but then changed hands several times, from Peter Morgan, Tony Gilroy and Billy Ray, and Pitt deemed that his vision had been lost in the re-write.

The actor was the first one on board after Universal and producers Andrew Hauptman and Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner landed the project after a hot bidding battle. With the writer"s strike on, Pitt wanted to till it was over to get a final rewrite that brought the film back to Carnahan"s original. Universal however, liked the rewritten script better.

The talks prevented the movie from making its original November 15 production start date. Universal considers Pitt to have walked out of a pay or play commitment and is leaving open the option to sue the actor if it cannot recast his role in time to keep the other actors in place. Pitt"s camp however disputes that he violated such a deal or that he ever approved a final script. Sources revealed that the actor did not want to drop out of the movie, of which he has been the driving force for 16 months, reports Variety.

Pitt was to play a politico-turned-journalist whose loyalties are tested when he spearheads a newspaper"s investigation into a murder that leads to the fast-rising politician whose campaigns the journo once ran. Still on board to star are Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman and Robin Wright Penn.

Topics: russell crowe, edward norton, jason bateman, state of play, kevin macdonald, matthew michael carnahan, andrew hauptman, tim bevan, eric fellner, rachel mcadams, robin wright penn, billy ray, brad pitt, dame helen mirren
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