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For the second time since the release of Lincoln, Steven Spielberg has opted out of directing a project. Deadline has learned that the Academy Award-winning filmmaker has decided that he no longer wants to direct American Sniper, the adaptation of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle's autobiography that is set to star Bradley Cooper. According to the report, Spielberg's vision for the film wasn't doable with the budget that was being offered.
Spielberg did something very similar to this just seven months ago when he decided that he was going to hit pause on the Daniel H. Wilson novel adaptation Robopocalypse. The director has been attached to the sci-fi film since 2010, and there was a long stretch where it looked as though it would be his Lincoln follow-up, but then we learned that he was having Drew Goddard's script retooled and that the movie wouldn't be ready for its April 25, 2014 release date. Spielberg then became attached to American Sniper in May, but obviously the project took a similar path.
While it certainly isn't great for a studio to lose a Steven Spielberg-directed project from their slate, one thing that Warner Bros. can be relieved about is that with Spielberg dropping off of American Sniper DreamWorks is going with him. When the director made his deal with Warners to come aboard, DreamWorks was going to co-produce, and had they stayed on after Spielberg's departure it would have wound up costing WB money. But that won't be the case.
So what is Spielberg going to do now? There really isn't a concrete answer to that question. Deadline says that the director has "got a lot of projects percolating," but fails to mention any potential titles. He's currently serving as an executive producer on a couple of television shows - including Under The Dome and Falling Skies - and is serving similar producorial duties on upcoming movies like Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic Park IV, and Peter Jackson's The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun. As he has shown throughout his career, he is liable to direct pretty much any kind of movie in any genre. So whatever he chooses will probably end up being a bit of a surprise.
But what would you like to see Spielberg do next? If he doesn't want to tackle another biopic, a sci-fi epic, or a military story, what do you think he should try? Would you like to see him go back to the well and direct a sequel to something he's already done, or try to make something brand new? Let us know what you think in the comments below.