Universal Puts the Kibosh on Josh Brolin Drug Drama 'Cartel'
After dramas like Repo Men and Green Zone, which were aimed at adult audiences, failed to make a decent return at the box office, it looks like Universal isn't willing to risk more money on such projects as Deadline reports the studio has killed Cartel, which was going into production in just five weeks. Josh Brolin was set to star (he replaced Sean Penn) in the drama about a man hellbent on protecting his son after his wife is brutally murdered after mixing in the world of Mexican drug cartels, but apparently concerns about budget, script, and complexities of shooting a drug-related drama on location in Mexico were just too overwhelming.
The studio that just can't seem to catch a break (maybe its time for some new management and a new staff, wouldn't you say?) issued this statement about shutting down pre-production on Asger Leth's Cartel today:
"Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment ceased pre-production of Cartel today. As much as we had hoped to begin filming this spring in Mexico City, the studio and its producing partners did not feel it was creatively ready to move forward under the timetable and budget we had established. We thank all of the filmmakers, cast and crew for their work during pre-production."
I'm sure the cast and crew are tickled pink that their work for the next couple months suddenly disappeared (though surely some have a pay or play deal and will get paid nonetheless). Of course, there's a chance that the project could come together again later, in fact this may be a blessing in disguise. Brian Grazer's Imagine Ent. (who's producing Cartel) also had a version of American Gangster (then starring Denzel Washington and Benicio Del Toro, directed by Antoine Fuqua) shut down, but that project came back with a vengeance - both Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott. After all, this is still Hollywood, where anything can and will happen.