Norton Out, Affleck In Play

“State of Play”, the American feature film remake of the acclaimed British mini-series, was originally going to be a “Fight Club” reunion of sorts with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in the lead roles.

Then Pitt dropped out at Thanksgiving due to unhappiness with the script, and a rushed search later saw him replaced a few weeks later with Russell Crowe. Now, Norton has dropped out of the project, though this time its due to scheduling conflicts.

According to Variety, Pitt’s departure and replacement has pushed filming on the project back to January, overlapping with Norton’s commitment to star in and produce indie comedy “Leaves of Grass”. So his agents worked out a deal with the studio and has left the project.

In his place is Ben Affleck who will play the fast-rising politician caught up in a murder conspiracy. Crowe will play a journalist who leads a newspaper’s investigation into the killing. He’s conflicted in that he once ran the pol’s campaigns, and he is now romancing his estranged wife.

Still in the cast are Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn and Jason Bateman. The Kevin Macdonald-directed drama goes into production in two weeks.