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Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

Okay. This is sounding worse and worse, and it’s tearing me up to be the bearer of bad news here. We broke the story yesterday about Brad Pitt leaving THE FOUNTAIN, and now it’s being confirmed by other outlets, including VARIETY, that Brad Pitt is leaving Darren Aronofsky’s proposed SF/metaphysical epic.

I loved this script.

I can understand how someone else might not. It’s not an easy piece of writing, and it would make a strange and personal film. No doubt about it. I thought the script was beautiful and moving, and I thought there was a real strong emotional component to it that would ultimately allow people to relate to it in a way that most never do with 2001. Was the script THE MATRIX? Was it the kind of thing that would spawn franchise spin-offs and ancillary marketing and merchandising? Was it an adrenaline kick worth revisiting over and over? Doubtful. Aronofsky seemd to have something very different in mind.

Brad Pitt has been associated with other projects that ended up not happening, like URBAN TOWNIE (the film Mark Romanek flirted with before making ONE HOUR PHOTO) and, more notably, the Coen Bros. brilliant TO THE WHITE SEA. I know that he wanted to make TO THE WHITE SEA. I can see why, too. That script was a thing of beauty. Watching Pitt grow his now-infamous beard over the last few months, he’s been visibly sending a message about his dedication to THE FOUNTAIN. He could have been working. He could have been doing one or even two other films. Instead, he stayed faithful.

And now he’s off the film.

So what happened?

Here’s what VARIETY has to say about the situation on today’s front page:

Pitt splits 'Fountain'

Story centers on main character's psychological journey


Brad Pitt is opting out of Darren Aronofsky's "The Fountain" and could likely land at another Warner Bros. project, the Iliad update "Troy." The switch, however, could leave "The Fountain" high and dry and create several problems for the Warners, co-financier New Regency and tenpercenter CAA to sort out.

Warner execs have apparently placed calls to agents asking about the availability of several other top stars as replacements for Pitt in "The Fountain" -- but it's unclear at this point if the project will go ahead.

Shooting on "The Fountain" was expected to start this fall. However, the film has proceeded in fits and starts for some time, falling apart once already.

Several sources piped up today, all before VARIETY ever published their version of things, and they’re all painting the same picture of what’s going on:

Regarding The Fountain, it's my sense that - while Aronofsky is desperately trying to shore up the numerous leaks springing up everywhere on the project - the studio itself is breathing a secret sigh of relief since this is as good an excuse as any to bail on a project whose financial future they worried might be dim.

Aronofsky is advocating J. Phoenix but, as fine an actor as he is, he doesn't greenlight a 70 mil film yet. Some things are meant to be; others are not. They've sunk some genuine $$$ into this though, so it may be salvagable yet. I hope so.

Joaquin Phoenix? Wow. I mean, I like his work, and I think he’s one of the things that really works in SIGNS, but I can’t imagine Warner Bros. saying yes to this movie with him in the lead. I wouldn’t want to be in Aronofsky’s shoes on this picture at this particular point. This sort of process is where the nickname “development hell” comes from. And it’s not like this is some crappy piece of Hollywood product we’re talking about. This is something really great and personal, being shredded by the storm. The director’s whole job becomes about preserving the thing at a point like this. Another report came in that filled in a little more of the picture:

I've heard it's falling apart also. Aronofsky fired Robert Newman at ICM after he built his career from nothing and signed with Bryan Lourd, Brad Pitt's agent, after the movie was falling apart originally and New Regency came in to co-finance.

Aronofsky turned in a re-write a few days ago which Brad Pitt didn't understand and he pulled out. CAA, his new agents are trying to save it, but want to preserve their relationship with Brad Pitt who is more important to them than Aronofsky, the new client. That's the scoop, New regency is saying it's dead, but who knows.

Christ. That’s brutal. Agency turf skirmishes can create real problems for directors and actors. Spielberg has long lamented the packaging on HOOK and the way it tied his hands on certain things.

We got one final bit of the puzzle filled in for us by a third scooper today:

Warners got cold feet about spending so much on such an offbeat esoteric project. This is Aronofsky remember, hardly a mainstream movie maker. Scooby Doo this ain't. The Matrix is what they hoped it would be but I think they finally realized it just wasn't commercial enough to be spending a hundred million on when all is said and done.

So they offered Brad "Troy" instead and this whole charade is so they won't ever have to admit that they got those dreaded cold feet. When Village Roadshow got scared of spending so much on such a strange project that should have told everybody that this script was just too damn weird to ever be a mainstream hit at that budget level. And Pitt is hardly a sure thing. This could easily have turned into another "Seven Years in Tibet" only this would have been the weird sci-fi version!

Oh, man. I am going to try to get an official statement from Aronofsky, but I feel like I’m intruding on someone’s grieving process. If he’s really under the gun like this, trying to replace an actor and still make a start date, then the last thing he’s going to want to do is talk about the process with Warner Bros., and I definitely understand.

Still... I’d love to sort this out... and I hope for the best, for some sort of reprieve. I mean, Pitt’s agent claims he’s still in, and that all of this is premature. I guess all that smoke has nothing to do with a fire... right?


Zoriana Kit over at The Hollywood Reporter weighed in with a very good piece, and I thought I'd toss it into the mix. We're all hearing the same basic thing, filtered through various people's personal feelings, and I think we're starting to get a good picture of what's going on now.

The Vine: 'Fountain' pen is Pitt's peeve

by Zorianna Kit Aug. 30, 2002

Hollywood has been buzzing all week about the rumor that Brad Pitt is itching to pull out of Warner Bros. Pictures' sci-fi pic "The Fountain." All involved insist the actor hasn't decamped, but sources close to the production are claiming that Pitt disliked the script's latest draft, for which preproduction has already begun as the clock ticks down on an October start date in Australia. Cate Blanchett and Ellen Burstyn are already in place, and the studio is said to have rented Pitt a beachfront mansion to house the actor during the shoot. There has even been talk that Warners could insist Pitt pay back the $18 million already invested in the project as an exit fee, though his reps deny that conversation has taken place.

While Warners has been trying to keep Pitt aboard, "Fountain" helmer Darren Aronofsky, who signed with CAA last month, has been scrambling to find a possible replacement, turning to his old agents at ICM - the commissioning agents on the film - for help in assessing Mel Gibson's availability. (Gibson was unavailable.) But all could still end well: To keep its options open, the studio is believed to have made an offer to Russell Crowe to step into "Fountain," while George Clooney's name also has been mentioned as a possibility. Pitt is unlikely to become persona non grata at Warners, where he and producer Brad Grey have a deal.

In fact, a "Fountain"-less Pitt could end up playing Achilles in the Wolfgang Petersen-directed "Troy" -- that possibility already has actors like Eric Bana interested in playing opposite him as Hector. And Pitt would likely receive far more than his $2 million "Fountain" tab to attack Troy.

Wow. Again. Wow. I hope the end of this long holiday weekend brings some sort of resolution for Aronofsky, and I still remain firm in my passion for the film. I hope Warner Bros. does the right thing and moves forward, and that the right actor ends up onboard. This could still be something great, and it's important not to give up on it yet.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 30, 2002, 6:41 a.m. CST

    He'll do it...

    by Mrs Danvers

    Brad'll do it! Cate'll make'im.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 6:42 a.m. CST


    by reni

    Why go through all the effort? Is $70m really too much for WB to experiment with?

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 6:48 a.m. CST


    by Redbox

    The artist's process slowly dies. I hope for the best, but they never let Welles make "Heart of Darkness" either.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 6:51 a.m. CST

    Spontaneous petition

    by Yatak

    This goes out to Brad Pitt, everyone at WB, and anyone else involved in this project: Please make it work. Do whatever you have to do, but Make...It...Happen...

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 6:56 a.m. CST

    I know I'm in the minority here . . .

    by Fuckles

    . . . but I am genuinely saddened that "The Fountain" may not ever see the light from a projector. You see, for me, this film (with Aronofsky at the helm) struck me as one of those high concept, big budget sci-fi epics that a big name Hollywood production company gives the greenlight to without thinking about the consequences. It only happens once in a blue moon. Sure, it's not without risk. Sometimes you get "2001." Sometimes you get "Dune" (well to be fair, I think "Dune" is ok, but's it's initial BO performance was disastrous). I really haven't seen a sci-fi film that's truly rattled my noodle since "Dark City" and I felt that Aronofsky had the ability to deliver some big brained sci-fi coupled with some envelope-pushing cinematic flourishes. Hey, I know a lot of TBers don't think so, but his past works make him look like the genuine article. Honestly, I am more disapponted by this news than what has happened to Gilliam in the past few years (he's had a good run, at least he got to make his "Brazil"). Sacrilege? Flame me now . . .

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 7:11 a.m. CST

    Can Freddie Prinze Jr. star in it? He'd be great! And much c

    by Regis Travolta

    Ah yes I can see it now, Freddie traveling 500 years through time in search of his lost love Sarah Michelle. First she's his wife. Then she's not. Then she's his wife again only it's 500 years in the future. Then they go back 500 years into the past which would be their present but not necessarily ours. Then they team up with Shaggy and Velma and Scooby and Scrappy to solve a fun mystery! They drive around in a mystery van only it's really a rocket ship and it takes them 900,000 years into the future where they solve more mysteries on Uranus. That would work wouldn't it?

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Where does all the money go in Fountain?

    by virkku

    I can easily understand that a film studio doesn't want to spend 100 million to an arthouse movie, if Fountain is one. A 100 million movie has to make 250-300 milion to make a profit. But what exactly is so expensive about Fountain? I understood that it is NOT an action epic, so maybe 40-50 million would be just fine? Thanks to CGI, futuristic special effects can be made relatively cheap nowadays. Digital matte paintings, digital scene extensions, etc, are quite cheap. Where does all the money go? I thought this film was based on characters, not on epic action.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 7:24 a.m. CST

    As for Aronofsky's rewrite scaring Pitt off of the film, bla

    by Regis Travolta

    Ah yes I can see it now. From: The Creative Group. To: D. Aronofsky. Re: Your FOUNTAIN Script. "Darren: We really love this latest draft but we think Brad's character still needs more of an arc, he needs to grow a little bit more over the course of his journey in order for this to really work. Also we'd like a bit more of a twist in Act 2 and let's up the stakes in Act 3. More jeopardy is needed in order for Brad's character to truly overcome all of his obstacles so the audience really feels they've gone on an epic adventure with him through the millenium of a thousand years in search of true love and eternal beauty." Naturally Aronofsky was completely confused by these nonsensical instructions from the studio development geeks so he tried to give them what they wanted and in the process he ruined his masterpiece and scared Brad off the movie. Happens every fucking time when you work with such brilliant studio development executives. They're omnipotent and at the same time impotent and all they ever do is ruin one great script after another. Welcome to Hollywood Mr. Aronofsky!

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Oh PUH-LEEZ get Joaquin Phoenix

    by DonnaDarko

    Phoenix is due a top billing and this script sounds as if it would be perfect for him. Aronofsky isn't the only director requesting him for films at the moment so if WB doesn't grab him, another studio will. Joaquin doesn't have the typical pretty boy/action star/romantic lead baggage that a lot of actors bring to a role. I'm guessing his fee would be a fraction of what Pitt demands too - isn't Pitt in the 20 million club? Jesus - that's probably 15 million cut from the budget right there.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 7:30 a.m. CST

    once again, aronofsky wouldn't have these problems if he mad

    by Jungle-face-jake

    provided that its the blockbuster WB wants. With that clout, The Fountain would be less of a nightmare. I understand WB's hesitancy to go though with this. Even though I really don't like it. Look at Vanilla Sky. 'nuff said. I mean, the Batman flick would be pretty pricey, right? This would show that Aronofsky can be loyal, and loyal filmmakers can be rewarded in the end. Even Kubrick had to make his "paid due" film.Without Sparticus, we wouldn't have 2001. This isn't anything different. Darren, make your Batman, and this won't be such a nightmare.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 7:44 a.m. CST

    Can Val Kilmer star in it? He'd be great! And much cheaper t

    by Regis Travolta

    People thought Michael Keaton was the only guy who could play Batman but were they ever wrong! Let Val Kilmer star in the Fountain then you'll really have something cool! Uh, on the other hand it would probably suck so forget I ever mentioned it.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 8 a.m. CST


    by alpha

    He gets 17 million? huh? Did I miss something? The guy has like 1 film thats grossed over 150 million and that was the all star Oceans 11. The guy is somehow a star without actually having hits. Hell Brendan Fraser, Mike Myers and Adam Sandler all are better Box Office bets than Pitt and I dont think anyones offering them 17 million too often. As for Troy ... Bana's like 33 and Damons 30 so thats pretty much a wash and Bana is way more believable as a killing machine (Damon would make a good Paris though).

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 9:08 a.m. CST

    I blame the average movie-going public.

    by Sod Off Baldric

    Unfortunately, your average Joe Movie-goer isn't going to go see a film like this when they could just as easily see Tomb Raider 2 "'cause it's got 'splosions!" They are the reason that films like Scooby-Doo make millions of dollars while a true visionary like Terry Gilliam can't even get his magnum opus funded. It's because of them that studios get worried about losing money on an intelligent film like 'The Fountain.' So, while I do lay blame squarely at the feet of the studios, I cast an accusing glance at anyone who contributed to the box-office success of films like 'Armageddon.' I apologize for the rant and hope that I haven't offended anyone too badly. However, I am in a REALLY bad mood today and this news just pissed me off. Later.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Seven years in Tibet was a big hit in Europe

    by sindala

    Seven years in Tibet was a big hit in European cinemas and on video. I doubt it that it did not earn back its budget. What's offbeat for the US, is mostly popular in Europe, i.e. A.I., Donnie Darko

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 9:12 a.m. CST

    There's always Pi II: Lemon Meringue or Requiem for a Dream

    by Cutter's Way

    And it will be hailed as as visionary masterwork by young male surburban whites who idolize this Aronofsky dipshit because they've never seen a film made prior to 1988.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 10:11 a.m. CST

    The reason scooby doo makes millions....

    by Snuggleskunk

    is the same reason films get cut for lower ratings. The main movie going public that actually make the industry the money is kids and teenagers. Apart from the people o this site your average adult with a job and a family hasn't got the time or the energy to go to the movie theatres every weekend. They are the ones who want thought provoking stuff but they'll wait for video or until it's on tv. Cinema is all about teenagers and until we have countries full of pseudo intellectual adolescents (or move to France) then the cinema's will keep pandering to kids. It's not dumbing down it's just playing to the target audience. America is probably always going to suffer worse from this because from the impression I get from tv shows and films from your country, intellect and contemplation isn't exactly highly thought of. Geeks don't seem to get a lot of respect and physical strength always wins the day.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Oh, get over it geekdom...

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    ... Aronofsky isn't half the auteur some people around here think his is - self-serving shooters tend not to have a lot of actors want to work with them unless the budget is big and they're getting paid - Pitt was prepared to take a fee cut and go to work, he at some point believed in the project - obviously that sentiment didn't last, and Aronofsky may never get this made. I don't think he's half the filmmaker he seems to think he is - does this mean he doesn't have an epic film in him? - No, but trying to score a $70 million film (some of you seem to think that this is moderate amount to spend on a film - it's not, WB won't make more than 4 movies this year that cost this much) is a pretty ludicrous idea for a director in his position, and expect to retain control. This project was doomed - and I'm a firm believer that if you can make it for $70 million - well, fucko you can do it for $30 million - find a way. Oh and Vikku - in order for a $100 million film to make a profit - it has to make $100,000,001.00 (bearing in mind that marketing is included in the $100 million) - that's simple economics. I think what you meant was that in order for the studio to deem it a success, it has to approach $200 million or a 100% ROI. Jeez, what a ramble.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 11:30 a.m. CST

    "What The Hell

    by IAmLegolas

    I don't think even the WB knows. Sad, but true.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 11:49 a.m. CST

    If Aronofsky does Batman, I'll stop watching his movies.

    by Wee Willie

    Batman movies are for retards. Same goes for comic book movies in general.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Now there's a totally uncontroversial statement...

    by Snuggleskunk

    comic book movies are for geeks. hmmmmmmmmm.

  • Personally, I'd like to see Antonio Banderas as Hector and Benecio del Toro as Ajax. Sure, they're hispanic, but at least they can look Greek with just a simple haircut. I guess if you're going to cast TROY with all white guys, you'd do alright with Pitt as Achilles (get some good Tyler Durden shots in there), and personally I see Heath Ledger as perfect for Paris. But hey, just so long as TROY actually gets made, I'll be happy.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 12:08 p.m. CST


    by David Fincher

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 12:23 p.m. CST

    What actually did happen to "To the White Sea"?

    by Seepgood

    I never did get to the bottom of that one. Anybody?

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Bruce Campbell should be in The Fountain! And he should play He

    by pedant

    Not really, but someone had to say it.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Can Joe Don Baker star in it? He'd be great! And much cheape

    by rev_skarekroe

  • and watch his career sink into the Marianas Trench. Aronofsky can be so deep he's unfathomable for most people and WB was probably right in questioning the spending on this film. It may have been intellecually glorious and uplifting, but if most people didn't get it, word of mouth would have killed it. Even science fiction writers who are too profound don't have huge followings, but the expenditures in publishing their works aren't like the movie biz. Too bad, Darren, but dat's Tinseltown. It's a business, first and foremost, not a stage for your innermost ponderings.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 1:13 p.m. CST

    WeedyMcSmokey is right

    by Declan_Swartz

    WeedyMcSmokey, You are right about budgets. WB probably went along with Arofonsky at first since Requiem only took 4.5 million to make but he made it look like a lot more had been spent on the production. I was shocked that he would jump from 4.5 to 70 million for Fountain; since I thought he knew how to stretch a penny and could get real talent to work for scale. He should shoot it in India.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 1:45 p.m. CST


    by Modern_Achilles

    As the modern reincarnation of the Divine Achilles (the immortal warrior of Greek myth, duh), I want a talented stud like Brad to play my role. I mean, I'm no Brad Pitt, I never was, in my past life I looked like Hugh Jackman, and nowadays I somewhat look like Edward Norton on a good day, but the general public doesn't need to know that, right? The only reason I was so popular with the ladies nearly four millenia ago is because I was a wealthy prince, and more importantly a demi-god, not because I was a bronze age Johnny Depp (or DiCaprio). I WANT PEOPLE TO REMEMBER ME AS A STUD, DAMMIT!

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 1:45 p.m. CST


    by Modern_Achilles

    As the modern reincarnation of the Divine Achilles (the immortal warrior of Greek myth, duh), I want a talented stud like Brad to play my role. I mean, I'm no Brad Pitt, I never was, in my past life I looked like Hugh Jackman, and nowadays I somewhat look like Edward Norton on a good day, but the general public doesn't need to know that, right? The only reason I was so popular with the ladies nearly four millenia ago is because I was a wealthy prince, and more importantly a demi-god, not because I was a bronze age Johnny Depp (or DiCaprio). I WANT PEOPLE TO REMEMBER ME AS A STUD, DAMMIT!

  • "I'm going to Warner Brothers..."

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 2:03 p.m. CST

    Dumbing down the story

    by arkansas

    I'll bet if anything Brad Pitt left because they dumbed down Aronofsky's first version that everyone loved, so that it could be more "mainstream" for the great unwashed idiot masses in middle America. Christ! They ruin EVERY potentially great movie! I think Pitt is an awesome actor and could've pulled off this Aronofsky story perfectly. For the record, I also think Joaquin Phoenix is a very good actor. And since when was $75 mil a lot of money to spend on a sci-fi project?? This sucks my ass. I was really looking forward to this movie. I hope Pitt or somebody can convince WB to go ahead with the original story. As a side note, casting Pitt as Achilles in "Troy" would also be brilliant. He's got the greek god thing going for him when he works it.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 2:22 p.m. CST

    All this movie needs is Jon Peters sitting in the Producer's

    by Regis Travolta

    This is what happens when you don't have an expert producer like Jon Peters involved, things go off the cliff. If Jon Peters had been invited to be the producer on this movie he would have kept Pitt on board and he would have told Darren to stop rewriting the script it's perfect just as it is. "Have you read it yet Jon?" Well no I can't read but from what you told me it sounds just great! And that's how you make a movie the Warner Bros. way! Jon Peters made Batman in 1989. He made Wild Wild West in 1999. He is the only man who can save The Fountain for 2009.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 2:28 p.m. CST


    by Nekko

    What is this bullshit about Joaquin Phoenix not carrying a $70 million dollar film? He's a brilliant actor, no one doubts that, and would chew the scenery up on a script like this. If Tobey McGuire can carry Spiderman, Joaquin and Aronofsky shouldn't have any problem with this.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 2:35 p.m. CST

    you know who you are

    by DelSam

    Most of you need to just get over yourselves- It is so easy to criticize someones talent when you are jealous and wish you had some. In the case of the Fountain- none of us knows what really happened yet- so wait until that happens- then criticize.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 2:54 p.m. CST

    it could have been

    by joeypogi

    everyone knew this movie was going to be a classic. it's hard to believe that they are backing away from it. but i guess aronofsky himself had his doubts. riding on the success of Requiem, he may have been overstretching. oh well, aronfosky is still going to be a god anyway.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 3:22 p.m. CST

    argghh...fucking tinseltown!!!!! *sigh*

    by drjones

    oooh god!! may the find a good actor...may this film happen...please!!!!!

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 3:28 p.m. CST

    WB doesn't want another A.I.

    by You Are Banned

    By that I mean an brilliant intellectual sci-fi film that will fly over most folks heads.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 4:53 p.m. CST

    by DuckStar

    This is sad news indeed. This was one of the projects that I was most looking forward to. Its so sad that in todays film world nobody has any problem spending the money to make a SF piece of garbage like Pluto Nash (which is poised to be one of the biggest flops in history) but not something that sounded genuinely enteraining AND smart. I do think Phoenix could work in this role and hope that despite Pitt leaving (who seemed perfect for that part)this thing will still see the light of day. Or maybe Aronofsky should just scrap it and direct "Pluto Nash II, Pluto goes to Camp."

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Can John Goodman star in it? He'd be great! And much cheaper

    by Regis Travolta

    This would be only fair because originally JG was all set to star in "To the White Sea" for the Coen Bros. JG would have been fantastic as the World War II bomber tailgunner who gets shot down over Japan, bails out and has to make his way to the White Sea. It would have been incredibly realistic. But no they decided (the studio suits that is) that "To the White Sea" needed pretty boy Brad Spit to star so they fired Mr. Goodman and the movie still isn't getting made any time soon. So let Big John star in Fountain instead!

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Can Tony Danza star in it? He's be great! And much funnier t

    by Regis Travolta

    Everybody Loves Tony Danza! He's lovable! And funny! He'd be perfect for this movie you could tell him it's based on the old song "Three Coins in the Fountain" and he'd do his Dean Martin imitation like he does on Conan O'Brien. Tony would sing songs as he travels through time! You can't ask for more entertainment than that. Well you could ask but all you'd get is Pluto Nash which as the poster above me so accurately pointed out used up all the money they had which could have been used for Fountain instead. Ain't Hollywood a fun town?

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 5:44 p.m. CST

    This from the guy who was in SPY GAME and MEET JOE BLACK.

    by Cash Bailey

    Fuck you, Pitt. I thought you were cool, regardless of what all these dumb-fucks here always said.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 5:44 p.m. CST

    Brad Pitt in "Troy"

    by lucyinthesky

    Brad Pitt's a good enough actor. And if him leaving "The Fountain" means he'll be in "Troy", then I don't see a problem. They could do worse than cast Brad Pitt ... please don't cast Freddie Prinze Jr. ;)

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 6:11 p.m. CST

    Arnofsky has to make it for less.

    by Aquafresh

    70 mil? For a movie not very many people will get? Sorry folks, most people are kinda slow, they wont understand or enjoy "The Fountain". We geeks probably would like it, but our support wont be enough for this flick to recoup its budget. I love thought provoking, esoteric sci fi, but c'mon, the studios are in BUSINESS after all. I wouldn't hand Darron that wad of cash.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 6:38 p.m. CST

    Sindala - Seven Years in Tibet B.O.

    by LenSp

    It made $100 million overseas, to go with it's weak $37.9 million in the US. But it's production budget was $70 million. Add in marketing in both the US and overseas, and you probably get near a $100 million budget. Which means it's break-even point would be roughly $250 million for the studio (assuming Brad or others didn't get a cut of the gross at any point). So it would have had a deficit of $112 million before video/DVD/TV revenues from around the world kicked in (and since retailers/video stores get their cut -- it would have needed near to $200 million in video/DVD/TV to reach a profit, if not more). I'd say that it's very unlikely that Seven Years in Tibet actually turned in a profit. Which demonstrates why a $70 million budget on a risky project is not a good idea for the studio at this time.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 8:51 p.m. CST

    Can Justin Timberlake star in it? He'd be great. And much c

    by EliCash

    Fun with people.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 10:59 p.m. CST

    Can Michael Jackson star in it? He's a great pedophile! And

    by Regis Travolta

    Let Wacko Jacko star in this movie it could all be filmed at his Neverland Ranch and for much less money all the Gloved One requires is a bedroom full of pre-pubescent boys in pajamas for a musical slumber party they could even throw in Harry Potter and his fellow classmates from Hogwarts Academy! Rated NC-17 but so what it's the Fountain that counts, a Fountain full of happy little boys laughing and singing and frolicing with Michael Jackson. If that's not a blockbuster I don't know what is!

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 11:33 p.m. CST

    Eric Bana is a killer actor!

    by Lonestarr2

    I'd pay money to see him go up against Pitt outside the Troy city walls...

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Yep - Pitt and Damon and Bana - LISTEN UP WOLFGANG

    by deeplyDisturbed

    Troy sounds like a heap of shit w/o some serious and bold casting.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Pitt is the only game in Hollywood

    by deeplyDisturbed

    Seven and Fight Club are seminal movie making. The guy knows how to pick a project and he can flat out act with the proper direction. Solid icon with good sense. Screw the fountain if he didn't care for the latest script - Aronofsky blew it.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 12:13 a.m. CST

    Also - do make 'To The White Sea' - and read the book, i

    by deeplyDisturbed

    Great book - hard movie to make; very little dialogue, that i can see, but a great read and could be a really entertaining flick.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 12:21 a.m. CST


    by ReverseOsmosis

    Truly tragic. And good idea to wait for another source before really getting on this thing... you guys kinda had egg on your faces after the whole 'Superman vs. Batman' casting thing. I hope Jennifer 'The Good Girl' can talk some indie sense into him- fast.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 12:22 a.m. CST


    by ReverseOsmosis

    Truly tragic. And good idea to wait for another source before really getting on this thing... you guys kinda had egg on your faces after the whole 'Superman vs. Batman' casting thing. I hope Jennifer 'The Good Girl' can talk some indie sense into him- fast.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 1:03 a.m. CST

    I want this movie now!! and Eric Bana is a great actor

    by Duty

    Chopper was realy good. I still cant belive that the guy that played "Chopper" is The Hulk. That's just carzy cool. Way to go Bana. Anny way I realy hope The Fountan moves forward. I wanna see what kind of trip Daren sends me down next. PLEASE WB MAKE THIS MOVIE HAPPEN!!!

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 1:14 a.m. CST

    He needs to make a paycheck picture first...

    by TheMatarife

    If he shows he can do something big boxoffice, then he can make his think piece. Vanilla Sky or AI or Minority Report would never have been made had Spielberg or Crowe has proven they knew what they were doing. He should just make batman and get some muscle behind him. Still, 70 mil for a pic like this is probably pushing it. It has no potential for a sequel or merchandising, it will probably go over the head of most of the teen market and half the adult market, making it very risky. If Pitt is only taking 2 mil, whered the other 60+ go? Must be some nice FX. Maybe he should just wait for effects and such to get way cheaper. Renderfarms based on videocards rather than just CPU power will make it much cheaper. Maybe wait 3-5 years, make a few box office hits first.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 1:55 a.m. CST

    Yeah, you're right, dolphin560.

    by Noriko Takaya

    People don't want anything even remotely intelllectual in their movie skiffy, they want 'splosions, laserbeams and big titties. Forget all that egghead stuff. I think Outlanders should be made into a live action flick instead. Find some curvalicious teen/20-something to do the lead role as Kahm--Oh. My. God. I just had a thought--Britney Spears. Britney Spears as Princess Kahm. Search your feelings, Luke, you *know* this to be true. Anyway, Freddie Prinze Jr. as Wakatsuki Tetsuya; Fairuza Balk as Battia Rou; let IL&M CGI Geobaldi along with the rest of the SFX and stick, oh fuck it, Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay in the director's chair. Let Dean Devlin write the damn thing, too. It's all we really deserve. Toppu o Nerae. Or not.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 2:05 a.m. CST

    Greeks, Trojans and Pitts Oh My ....

    by alpha

    Someone mentioned that the cast for Troy should look mediteranean (like Banderis etc)but they are perhaps mistaking how the average greek looks today as compared to how the ancient greeks looked. The Ancient Greeks were a fairer skinned people than the modern greeks due to the dominant genetic traits of the Turks and other conquering nations which changed the gene pool. I actually know 2 naturally blonde greeks and a few others who are pretty fair (light brown hair and fair skinned) as well as a fair few of the darker more olived skinned Greeks who better fit the stereotype. The Trojans on the other hand were probably Darker Skinned and haired (Bana fits the look). As for Pitt like I said this guy gets a lot of money without neccesarily having the Box Office success to back up the money he's getting but as far as that goes good luck to him (if someones prepared to pay him 17.5 mil then thats their stupidity not Brads) my comments aren't about his ability merely his value for money. If you want value for money then Hanks & Gibson are the 2 guys who can truly justify their asking prices based on profit making film after profit making film. Cruise used to be in that catergory but over the last few years thats tailed off a lot mainly due to the fact he plays the same basic character over and over, if you dont believe me then this is a character sketch for you ... a guy who has a lot going his way and is a bit full of himself but is still kind of charming who then has something go wrong and learns an important life lesson ... which Tom Cruise film does this character appear in ... pretty much all of them, and why doesn't it work so well anymore ... well at 20 its understandable, at 30 its tolerable and at 40 its a case of wondering why this guy hasn't learnt that lesson already. Box Office isn't the be all and end all by any means but at least Gibson, Hanks and Cruise have done enough to deserve those 20 mil checks.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 2:07 a.m. CST

    ving rhames

    by uberbill

    hands down

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 2:20 a.m. CST

    i connect to 2001.

    by a goonie

    cuz it is, alongside "magnolia," my favourite movie of all time.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 2:25 a.m. CST

    the good thing is, at least the names being thrown around are go

    by a goonie

    Pitt is a great actor. but if he leaves, well, if he's leaving for "Troy," best of luck. i am yet to figure out my opinions on the latter project, just cuz as much as i like Petersen, the combination of this particular story and him is not tickling my tastebuds quite yet. but the replacements for Pitt are good ones, and that is, well... good. i love Crowe. he's an unbelievably talented actor, with an often insanely effective acting style. and Phoenix, well, at first i kinda liked the guy, before he was big, then everyone really noticed him and he wasn't really impressing me, and then i saw Signs, and man, i'm a believer now. his performance is probably the best in the whole movie. and Signs is rich with great acting. so yes, i'd love to see Crowe or Phoenix fill Pitt's shoes, if it comes to that.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 6:30 a.m. CST

    RE: WeedyMcSmokey (about the profit & budget)

    by virkku

    Sorry, I understood that Fountain was going to cost 100 million, when it's actually 70 million. Anyway, the studio get's only about 50% of the theatrical income, the other 50% goes to distributors. Since the budget and marketing for Fountain would be 100 million, the film has to make 200 million in the worldwide market to make any profit at all. Of course VHS/DVD/TV sales help to make a profit, which means that 170 million on theatrical release might be enough for the film to make even. 170 million for an arthouse film is very rare to happen.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 12:37 p.m. CST

    This is the new fucking milennium...

    by Mrs Danvers

    ...for chrissakes -- 2001, Solaris, even Slaughterhouse 5 were made over 30 years ago. Has cinema regressed so much that those dipstick studio tightarses don't wanna have any fun any more? yeah Warners (and I know you're reading) fucking cgi cartoon dogs represent 40000 years of evolution? Gimme a doll! Life IS risk!

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Damn, things were going good there for a second!

    by 007-11

    This project sounds so kickass it's killing me to think it might not happen. Come on Brad, don't jump ship because of some little script problem into another ship that will probably just be a big epic thing that has Oscar shoe-in written all over it. If Pitt does bail I suggest getting the always brilliant Jude Law, he can do anything.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 7:02 p.m. CST

    Dolphin560 IS right Noiko

    by Commando Cody


  • Aug. 31, 2002, 7:08 p.m. CST

    by Commando Cody

    Nice of you to bemoan the current state of movies and assert that "Life IS risk." So I tell you what -- why don

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 7:39 p.m. CST

    WB has a good reason to give up on this project

    by virkku

    I liked Pi and RFAD lot, but 70 million to an uncommercial film by Aranofsky? I wouldn't give him that much. I would LOVE to see the film if somebody pays for it, but I wouldn't give him the money. If it would cost 30-40 million, then it MIGHT make the money back, but on a budget of 70 million it's a huge risk. Studios have to make profit if they want to finance movies in the future. No profit, no movies. If someone has read the script, why exactly is the film so expensive to make?

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 9:28 p.m. CST

    ah yes, development hell...

    by Renata

    I didn't particularly care for REQUIEM but I can empathize with what hell Aronofsky must be going through. I'm in development hell myself with a studio, and the last thing I want to hear on a phone call are the words, "We have notes." I'm convinced it's a way for producers to make themselves feel useful, no matter how lamebrained their notes really are. And they often are. Ok, they always are.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 9:32 p.m. CST

    post script

    by Renata

    ...Yes, 70 mil is a pretty penny for any studio to be spending, especially when the combined box office of both Aronofsky movies equals less than the Leprechaun 1 and 2. If the script is really that good (haven't read it, don't really know anything about it), Aronofsky shouldn't have problem getting foreign financing and doing it as an independent, much like how STARGATE or Luc Besson made a lot of his films. It would also insure him some level of creative control. Just my two cents.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 9:39 p.m. CST

    You know, Commando Cody. . .

    by Noriko Takaya

    . . .people like you are the reason I don't watch vary many movies from the U.S. any more, in fact I don't watch very many movies anymore period. You seem to think that excellence in cinema and making a profit are mutually exclusive. Well guy, your wrong, as many great films throughout history have proven. In any case, that is neither here nor there as far as I, the consumer, am concerned. As a moviegoer who has to decide where to spend her hard-earned money I am interested in only one thing: quality. I demand excellence in my movies and nothing less. I could not possibly care less about movie studio CEO's or the Board of Directors or the stockholders. If it's *my* money that is to be spent at the box office then they will damn well give me what I want. Life is too short to settle for 2nd and 3rd rate just because greedheads want to cut corners and are not willing to take risks. So, tell you what--you go eat whatever steaming plate of wormy, fly-blown shit the studios want to set in front of you, all the while blathering about stockholders and budgets, while I go look for the next Citizen Kane, the next Gone With The Wind, the next Apocalypse Now. Deal? Toppu o Nerae, Commando Cody. Seriously. It will do you some good.

  • Aug. 31, 2002, 10:16 p.m. CST

    Well said Commander Cody

    by alpha

    We sometimes forget that its real movney these people are talking about. Thats why I'm appalled by the fact that Brad Pitt (who is a fine actor and apparently a damn nice guy) commands 17.5 million merely on the fact that I doont think the guy actually has done the work that deserves that much. From my posts I'm sure people know I hate Tom Cruise but I wont deny that he's got the successes to justify his salary. Noriko Takaya wants quality and says "while I go look for the next Citizen Kane, the next Gone With The Wind, the next Apocalypse Now." which I cant argue with except that 2 of those films made enormous losses and the other is a big long soap opera (which is why it was a commercial success). For every commercial failure that we remember and revere there are 10 arty pieces of crap that are rightly consigned to the dust bin of history. Most of the Studios are willing to spend some money on a less commercial film because they like to win awards come Oscar season but I get the feeling that the WB doesn't know what the Fountain is going to be and fear that rather than having a 70 mil masterpiece they may end up having a 70 mil confusing disjointed piece of crap. I'm not saying it was going to be that but I cant blame people at the WB not being keen to invest 70,000,000 dollars (somehow the figure looks more obscene when you type all the zeroes). I would of thought that Good Will Hunting, Memento and even Blair Witch would have shown people that you can still do something interesting on a small budget. If your spending 70 mil then it should be on something that people want to see that can recoup its budget rather than something that only a few people want which will make a huge loss 9 times out of 10.

  • Sept. 1, 2002, 12:17 a.m. CST

    Oh, I'm not arguing that you need a bloated budget, alpha.

    by Noriko Takaya

    I'm arguing against the notion that in order to be successful, a film has to be a mindless piece of crap. I mean hey, I loved xXx and Episode 2, so I'm not above the occasional popcorn flick--provided that it is well made and not just shat out like a piece of lowest common denominator garbage (Pluto Nash is Exhibit A for this kind of thinking). And true, you can do a lot on a small budget--Memento and Blair Witch are some of my fave films. But if studios are that afraid of risking money then they should just get out of the business altogether--even at US$30,000,000 your film could bomb. And as I said before: as a customer I don't really give a damn about corporate shenanigans. I am spending some of *my* limited budget on entertainment and I want quality. If Hollywood won't provide it--well, there's Hong Kong cinema, "Bollywood," French movies, Iranian films. . .and of course video games and books. The point being that I *don't* have to just take whatever I am given from these people. There are other alternatives; life's too short to settle for 3rd rate. Toppu o Nerae!

  • Sept. 1, 2002, 3:55 a.m. CST

    You know, Noriko

    by Commando Cody

    You said "You seem to think that excellence in cinema and making a profit are mutually exclusive." Hey, I never said any such thing. Don

  • Sept. 1, 2002, 4:24 a.m. CST

    You know, Noriko

    by Commando Cody

    You also said "I am interested in only one thing: quality. I demand excellence in my movies and nothing less. I could not possibly care less about movie studio CEO's or the Board of Directors or the stockholders. If it's *my* money to be spent at the box office then they will damn well give me what I want." Sorry, Noriko (buzzer going EHHHH!) wrong again. It

  • Sept. 1, 2002, 4:51 a.m. CST

    You know, Noriko

    by Commando Cody

    Finally, you said, "If studios are that afraid of risking money then they should just get out of the business altogether. Even at $30,000,000 your film could bomb." WHOA. Hey, reality check, all right? Don

  • Sept. 1, 2002, 5:22 a.m. CST

    Obviously I've hit a nerve with you, Commando Cody.

    by Noriko Takaya

    Aww, poor baby, wassa matter? Don't like it when someone stands up for quality in cinema and isn't willing to just swallow whatever garbage is shoveled at them? What studio do you work for, "Cody?" Don't try to pretend you're just a regular movie fan because with all your concern over budgets and finances it is obvious to all that you are not. And while you may not have explicitly *said* that "excellence in cinema and making a profit are mutually exclusive," that is exactly what you continually imply by your rantings. Next, you said "Sorry, Noriko (buzzer going EHHHH!) wrong again. It

  • Sept. 1, 2002, 5:43 a.m. CST


    by virkku

    You don't seem to understand what Cody is saying. A studio doesn't want to spend 70 million to a movie that is likely to make 20 million at the box office. You see, they could lose dozens and dozens of millions of dollars with Fountain. If WB would finance projects like that all the time, in a couple of years the studio wouldn't exist anymore. Your line of thinking would mean that very soon we wouldn't have any movie industry and no movies (and that doesn't include only Hollywood, but every country where the industry is not primarily goverment funded). And most of us like to see in movies in the future as well. * * * The point is not that quality movies shouldn't be made. The point is that the budget to those quality movies (and ALL movies in general) should be based on their commercial potential. So if Fountain can't make 200 million at the worldwide B.O (which it needs to break even on a 70 million budget), then it shouldnt cost 70 million. The pricetag should be on a level where the film has a change to make profit.

  • Sept. 1, 2002, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Can John Travolta star in it? He was in Battlefield Earth and th

    by Regis Travolta

    John's my 3rd cousin on my aunt selma's side of the family and if JT can't drink from the fountain of eternity how about Eddie Murphy? He'd be great! Or how about Bernie Mac? Steve Buscemi? Carl Reiner? Julia Roberts? Matt Le Blanc? Bob Denver? That's the guy, Gilligan deserves to be in a major motion picture he's paid his dues long enough! Cast Bob Denver damn it!

  • Sept. 1, 2002, 12:52 p.m. CST

    who's money is it, anyway?

    by Renata

    Noriko and Cody, As someone who's spent his own money on short movies, I can safely tell you that it's not a pleasant experience. I'm all for art and the rights of the artist (I love how in Ireland, working artists don't pay taxes), but I also see the other side of the commerce coin, having been there. Yes, I wanted my film to be great and beautiful in that transcendentalist style of filmmaking perfected by Ozu and Bresson, but when my DP asked for more lightbulbs, I bitched and moaned like the best exec. It's just that way. You can't ever appreciate how expensive making movies are until you've opened your own checkbook. And film history is ripe with filmmakers who've taken advantage of studio profligacy and made turkeys ("Heaven's Gate" anyone? Orion Pictures, anyone?). The fact of the matter is, studios are corporations and an investment of 70 million dollars is something hard for CEO's and Board of Directors to swallow if a profit isn't turned, and if you had stock in said studio, you'd probably watch their bottom line a little more carefully, too. One of the great disillusionments for me as a filmmaker was how potent a force business is in filmmaking. It's something I couldn't have imagined when I fell in love with the magic of movies as a child. But it is a business. Real money is spent. People have 401ks to protect. Studios have to meet quotas. It's Wall Street of the West Coast, frankly. It just so happens that that business is one of making dreams come true and telling stories, not making cars or aspirins. So where does "art" place in this formula? Thank God there are enough talented people (Scorsese, Spielberg, Cronenberg, Wes Anderson) to remind us that art and commerce can coexist. But as great as "Thin Red Line" was, it didn't turn a profit and Rupert Murdoch hated it. I'm not justifying this, Noriko, just clarifying it. It stinks, I agree. I would rather go see Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN for a hundreth time than SCOOBY DOO once. But when you play by studio rules, your in bed with the devil, and there is no secret about it. As an exec at Paramount once told me, flat out, "We're not here to make art, we're here to make money."

  • Sept. 1, 2002, 7:02 p.m. CST

    I understand, virkku and Renata.

    by Noriko Takaya

    As I said above, I'm not arguing that you need a bloated budget in order to make a good film--I'm just saying that the studios need to make *better* films, i.e., more Indiana Jones and fewer Pluto Nash's. Cost isn't really an issue with me; I don't need whiz-bang special effects to get off on. Some of the best movies I've ever seen have been done on a miniscule budget. Exhibit A? El Mariachi. Great little film, well made, written, acted, firing on all cylinders. Cost: US$7000. Think about that--just 7000 big ones! There are people who run up more then that on their credit cards! Now compare that to it's bloated multi-million dollar remake, Desperado. Sure, it's got gorgeous, delicious Antonio Banderas in it as well as the lovely Salma Hayek, and it's fun to watch. . .but is it really necessary? It seems to be almost the exact same film made at a higher cost (correct me if I'm wrong). Andway, I hope I cleared that up. And it's probably true what some here have said, Aronofsky needs to make a few commercially successful films first before he tackles the artistic stuff--that way the studio will feel better banking on him. Hell, he can even use my "Outlanders" idea--he'd sure as hell do it better (and thus more successful at the box office) then Michael Bay. And one publicity still of Britney Spears with ram horns on her head, squeezed into Kahm's slinky "space princess" outfit will have lines around the block for this thing in no time. Hey Darren, if you're out there, call me! I'd love to do the script. Toppu o Nerae!

  • Sept. 2, 2002, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Noriko, you're obviously welcome to have your own opinions,

    by Commando Cody

    Noriko, you strike me now as either a movie fan who

  • Sept. 2, 2002, 6:19 a.m. CST

    Reply to Noriko...

    by Commando Cody

    Noriko, you strike me now as either a movie fan who

  • Sept. 2, 2002, 4:31 p.m. CST

    O.K., Cody, this is my last post on this subject--

    by Noriko Takaya

    --for three reasons: one, this article has moved off of the front page; two, the talkback order is screwed up again so this post will likely appear at the top or in the middle; and three you are obviously not reading a single damn word that I write. So: one last time, and real slow now, for the mentally challenged: Good films = good. Bad films = bad. It is not necessary to spend a lot of money to make a good film. Using cost effectiveness as an excuse to make a bad movie = bad. If you're too damn stupid to understand what I've been writing over and over again all this time then you are hopeless. Pull your head out of your ass and grow up. Good-bye and good riddance.

  • Sept. 4, 2002, 4:13 a.m. CST

    Actors who can take up the role:

    by Sugawata

    I personally think Guy Pierce would be an excellent replacement. Hes 10 times the actor Brad Pitt is, and has shown he can carry a movie. However, it will be a bit odd to see Guy in a movie that skips through time when we just saw him in The Time Machine. J Phoenix is a great actor, but I'm not sure if I can see him in this role yet. In his biggest film debuts he's played a villain and comic relief. Gladiator, and Signs respectivly. A bit difficult to forsee him travelling through time in a tale of love (bad summary of movie, but whatever) whilst questioning age old questions of religion. I'm sure he could do it under David A's direction though. Russell Crowe, please no. I'm a big Crowe fan, but he doesn't fit this movie. I think Jared Leto might be able to do it, but seeing him and E. Burstyn togeather under David A's direction will make me imagine Requiem in Time: The Final Frontier. Don't know why they are checking Gibson's availability. His age was telling in Signs and I was waiting for him to wedge the basement door closed with his walker, then drive away in a Rascal scooter with cartons of apple sauce. What are some other opinions? Some people have gone completely off topic and think we give a shit about their opinions of film investments in general or their classification of good and bad films. If it doesn't pretain directly to this film, don't mention it.

  • Sept. 5, 2002, 4:09 p.m. CST

    Darron Aronofsky is an amazing director

    by Whoseyourbishop

    There is no way that WB can scrap this project. Darron Aronofsky is one of my favorite directors. His work on Pie was excellent and I was completely blown away by Requiem for a Dream. Juaquin Phoenix is the perfect actor for this movie. I was disapointed when I found out that it was Brad Pitt who was going to be the lead and somewhat relieved when it was reported that he had left it. Unfortunatley he left to ruin Troy but oh well. Hopefully they can get Juaquin on this project because it sounds like a very well written movie and hopefully it is as good as Requeim for a Dream.