You remember that wacky sounding 3-D live action Cleopatra musical from Steven Soderbergh, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Hugh Jackman? Well, scratch that last part.
According to Variety, Jackman has removed his name from discussions for the $30 million “Cleo,” which is still completing its financing. Jackman had been attached to the project as Roman general Mark Antony, with Zeta-Jones as Cleopatra.
[Actually, to be fair, the Variety story says Jackman would have played “Marc Antony,” half military leader, half J-Lo spouse.]
Neither actor had been formally signed.
The trade paper speculates that the ever-popular “scheduling conflicts” may be behind Jackman’s departure, though the actor hasn’t committed to any films awaiting production.. Most recently seen in the Baz Lurhmann-directed box office disappointment “Australia,” Jackman is getting ready to host the Oscars in February, before shifting back into promotional gear for the May release of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
Since “Cleo” may be the next project for the always industrious Soderbergh, the director has already reportedly begun discussions with Ray Winstone (“Beowulf,” “The Proposition”) to play Antony.
It’s unclear if Jackman’s departure will have any impact on Zeta-Jones’ commitment to this reunion with her “Traffic” director.
Although it recounts a classic love story, “Cleo” will be modernized through songs written by indie rock icons Guided by Voices (in some form at least).
Former GbV bassist James Greer wrote the “Cleo” script.