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When you consider how many moving parts are involved in making movies it’s a shock that they get made at all. Even a week before filming starts, when you’d think most details have been finalized, things can change so drastically that a film’s star can walk away. In this case, Henry Cavill is leaving the special forces movie Stratton due to problems with a minor film detail, the script.
The Man of Steel actor was on board as both the star and as a producer of the film, but, according to Screen Daily, pulled out at the last minute because there were unspecified issues with the script. The film is based on the series of novels by Duncan Falconer, about the titular character, John Stratton, a member of Special Boat Service, a British Naval Special Forces unit. The film’s financier, GFM Films, who was previously behind Simon Pegg's Absolutly Anything, is now contacting investors to let them know that Cavill is no longer involved. According to GFM Films co-founder Guy Collins:
"[D]uring several meetings this week in London with both sets of producers including Henry Cavill, he told us he has decided not to shoot this script at this time. He had a different vision of what the film should be to us and the production team and wanted to delay production until September and shoot a different story and script.
There’s no mention of exactly what the issue was with this script in Cavill’s mind, or why he waited to express his displeasure until just before filming was set to start. He had previously made comments that he planned "to convert the books to cinema as accurately as possible," so perhaps the final shooting script strayed too far from the source material for his liking. Collins’ comment that Cavill wanted to shoot a different story, not just different script, implies a radical shift for the film in his mind.
Cavill walking away impacts the film’s production in more ways than simply losing its star. Cavill’s new production company, Promethean Productions, which he founded with his brother Charlie and producer Rex Glensey, was co-producing Stratton.
It looks like the rest of the production team is going to attempt to remain intact, including Simon West (Con Air) as director. Since they were only days away from beginning to film they could potentially still move forward if they can find a new leading man who is available now. Otherwise they’ll be stuck with the same production delay that they were attempting to avoid.
Cavill still has plenty to keep him busy and on movie screens. He’s starring in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. later this summer, and then of course there’s that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice thing planned for next summer.