Universal Passes on P.T. Anderson's Next, But Renner Joins?
Back in December we reported on news that writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson was finally casting Philip Seymour Hoffman in the lead role of his upcoming and still untitled drama about a charismatic intellectual who hatches a faith-based organization that begins to catch on in America in 1952. Apparently Universal was looking to distribute, but Deadline reports that poor box office returns last weekend on the expensive action flick Green Zone mean the $35 million budget for Anderson's film was just too pricey for them to take the risk. Yeah, Universal, keep making movies like Wolfman and you'll be rolling in the profits.
So Anderson, with his consistently stellar work that doesn't go unnoticed comes awards time, is looking for new financiers and distributors, but I don't think he'll have too hard of a problem finding one. Apparently River Road (who has helped films like Terrence Malick's Tree of Life and Doug Liman's CIA leak/Valerine Plane story get off the ground) is already having serious talks about picking up Universal's loss. Along with this news, they also say Jeremy Renner, fresh off his Oscar nomination for The Hurt Locker, is circling the role of Freddie, a twenty-something drifter who becomes the leader's lieutenant. As the faith begins to gain a fervent following, Freddie finds himself questioning the belief system he embraced, and his mentor.
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jeremy Renner? Yes, please! Hoffman is one of my favorite actors of all-time and Renner has come a long way since crap like S.W.A.T., so I really hope that River Road or whoever has the cash money to finance this P.T. Anderson (also one of my favorite filmmakers) flick steps up. This will be a big regret for Universal as that studio sits dead in the water losing tons of money by making shitty movies. This is the studio that is responsible for Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and more recently The Bourne Trilogy, but now they make nothing but garbage and pass on projects like this. Keep up the good work guys!