Al Pacino is in negotiations to star in Dan Fogelman’s directorial debut Imagine. The acclaimed screenwriter who’s penned everything from Cars to Tangled to the upcoming Crazy, Stupid, Love is making the transition to helming his own scripts, but the road to making this new project hasn’t been the smoothest. Fogelman got a big early bump almost immediately when Steve Carell signed on to play the second lead, but the former Office actor was later forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. That left the movie in a bit of a holding pattern, but with Pacino’s commitment likely coming by the end of the week, the production should get back on track.

Imagine follows an old broken down musician who’s made some poor choices in his life. Estranged from his son and lacking purpose, he’s informed John Lennon wrote him a letter more than forty years ago that was never delivered. With a new found confidence, he attempts to follow through on the optimistic advice by reaching out to his son. If talks with the studio continue progressing, Pacino will play the lead opposite someone yet to be hired who will play the son role Carell originally signed on for. According to The LA Times, Carell’s parting was amiable, and he’s agreed to stay on as a producer.

The old maxim that success breeds more success is perhaps more true in the movie business than in any other industry, at least on paper. The more an actor proves capable, the more roles he’s offered and the choosier he can get. It’s a lot easier to win Academy Awards when you’re choosing one role from one hundred scripts rather than automatically talking whatever comes in so as to make rent on time. Unfortunately, the longer someone is famous, the more likely it becomes that among those one hundred scripts, the actor will choose foolishly a few times in a row. That’s why even great actors invariably have ebbs and flows throughout their careers, but the special thing about the truly brilliant, the Eastwood’s and Hanks’, is that any single script can vault them back to the top. Hopefully, Imagine is exactly what Pacino needs. He crushed last year in HBO’s Dr. Kevorkian biopic. The talent is definitely still there.

There’s no word yet on exactly when Imagine might get started, but Fogelman is currently working on the Seth Rogen/ Barbara Streisand road trip comedy My Mother’s Curse. Once that wraps up, expect the studio to get moving here by the end of the year.

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