Movies lingering in development hell is nothing new to Hollywood, but the Cleopatra biopic has been especially eager to escape that bleak realm. The historical figure's story was previously the subject of silver screen attention in the early 1960s, and now it looks like she may finally have the chance to shine there again. That's because Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve is now being eyed to helm the project.
It was rumored a few months ago that Denis Villeneuve was among the shortlist of directors Sony Pictures is looking at to tackle the next James Bond movie, but according to Deadline, he is also in discussions with the studio to re-develop Cleopatra, which previously had James Cameron, Paul Greengrass and David Fincher circling it. While nothing is a done deal yet, it looks like Villeneuve helming Cleopatra is likelier than him jumping into 007's world.
Rather than being a direct remake of the 1963 Cleopatra classic that starred Elizabeth Taylor as the eponymous protagonist and Richard Burton as Mark Antony, this new Cleopatra movie is based off the biography Cleopatra: A Life, written by Stacy Schiff. Nevertheless, if you've wanted to see a more modern adaptation of the Egyptian empress on the big screen, this is the movie for you. David Scarpa, Eric Roth and Brian Helgeland have all worked on the script, while Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal are attached as producers. At one time Angelina Jolie was being eyed to play Cleopatra, but it's unclear if she's still the top contender for the role or if Sony will look elsewhere for the lead actress.
It's reasonable to say that Denis Villeneuve has been prospering in Hollywood in recent years. Following the positive reception to his 2013 movies Prisoners and Enemy, both 2015's Sicario and 2016's Arrival were lauded and met with numerous accolades. Now early reactions indicate that Blade Runner 2049 will be another winner for Villeneuve's resume, so it's understandable why Sony wants to capitalize on his talents and have him be the one to finally bring Cleopatra to life.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Legendary Pictures had signed Denis Villeneuve to direct the Dune remake. For those wondering if Cleopatra will affect his plans to helm a new version of Frank Herbert's beloved 1965 science fiction novel (which was previously adapted in he 1980s by David Lynch), evidently Villeneuve will be able to work on Cleopatra as he's behind the camera on Dune.
We'll keep you updated on what's happening with the Cleopatra movie as more news comes in. In the meantime, you can see the Denis Villeneuve-helmed Blade Runner 2049 in theaters starting on October 6, and be sure to look through our 2017 and 2018 premiere guides to find out which movies are being released over the next year.