Brad Pitt ditches State Of Play

And we were so looking forward to it… Yes, the shocking news is that Brad Pitt has departed the fast-tracked film adaptation of the miniseries State Of Play that had also nabbed Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, among others.

This being a Hollywood effort, there are naturally differing opinions on why Pitt skipped. His argument is that he wouldn’t have left the movie (he has, after all, been one of its biggest champions) but rewrites of the Matthew Michael Carnahan script he originally loved haven’t met his vision. And after weeks of meetings with director Kevin Macdonald, he didn’t get the screenplay changes he wanted so he’s outta there.

Universal claims that it liked the re-written version more than the original and that he’s ditching a pay-or-play contract. The studio has threatened to sue if he doesn’t come back. It has good reason to worry – this has shoved the film past its planned start date, several of the other cast members (especially Helen Mirren) have stop-dates written into their contracts so they can work on other films. Plus, it’s not like they can just get Carnahan to come back and magically re-work his script when he’s out on the picket line of the writers’ strike.

So now it’s stuck looking for a star in a hurry – the likes of Tom Hanks and Johnny Depp might be available after script issues shut their movies down, but the studio will have to work fast.

Somewhere in New York, Darren Aronofsky is reading the news and proclaiming, “remember The Fountain? I warned you! I warned you all! Muhahhahahahaaaaa!” Probably.