Russell Crowe for Brad Pitt–fair trade?
Variety is reporting that Universal is trying to convince Russell Crowe to take over the departed Brad Pitt’s role in State of Play.
As we discussed last week, Pitt left the film over script issues and now the star-studded production (Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman) is in jeopardy unless they start shooting almost immediately. If they don’t, they may begin to lose other cast members to other commitments. Crowe himself has Nottingham, Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood told from the baddie’s p.o.v., on the horizon and would have to squeeze in this film before that starts up.
Pitt’s role, that of a politico turned journalist who finds trouble when a murder investigation leads to a fast-rising politician (Norton), could also go to Tom Hanks or Johnny Depp. Both of them are suddenly available due to postponements of their next projects (respectively Angels & Demons and Shantaram).
All four of these actors–Pitt, Crowe, Hanks, Depp–don’t have much in common other than that they’re big name stars. The one who gets the role, therefore, will have a huge effect on the tone of the film. If it all turns out well, we’ll all be thinking, “Whew! Good thing Brad/Russell/Tom/Johnny didn’t play that part! The movie would have sucked!” If it doesn’t, we’ll wonder what could have been…