According to the Hollywood Reporter, Universal is “looking at” Johnny Depp to replace Brad Pitt in the political thriller STATE OF PLAY. Pitt pulled out of Kevin Macdonald’s film, which was scheduled to begin production on November 15th, citing “script concerns” (the script cannot be worked on because of the Writers Guild of America strike). Johnny is now available to shoot a film in the winter due to the recent postponement of Mira Nair’s SHANTARAM.
STATE OF PLAY is based on an award-winning British miniseries and has a top-notch cast lined up and ready to film, including Oscar-winner Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman and Robin Wright Penn; however, Universal must act quickly to replace Pitt–according to Variety, by November 29th–or it will begin to lose its cast to other projects. The Pitt character is a journalist (formerly a top political consultant) who heads a newspaper’s murder investigation involving a fast-rising politician (Norton). Other actors rumored to be under consideration for the role include Russell Crowe and Tom Hanks.
The Zone thanks Donna B. for breaking the story and Gilbert’s Girl for the Variety article; you can read both of them in their entirety on the Zone’s News & Views forum. We wish Universal and Kevin Macdonald good luck in finding their new leading man; so many fine projects have already been deferred by the strike that we would hate to see STATE OF PLAY vanish, too. –Part-Time Poet