David Fincher was developing it for a while, and more recently “Blade Runner 2049” and “Prisoners” director Denis Villeneuve became attached. Now “All the Money in the World” writer David Scarpa has revealed that the upcoming “Cleopatra” biopic won’t be your typical period drama.
Angelina Jolie has been attached to the film which was based on Stacy Schiff’s book “Cleopatra: A Life,” whether that’s still the case is unsure. Schiff and Brian Helgeland worked on the script prior to Scarpa coming onboard and he tells Heat Vision expect it to be decidedly more intense and energetic than a period piece:
“It’s similar [to ‘All the Money in the World’] in that there’s a lot of research involved and there’s a question with all that of how do you want to do it and how do you make something new out of it? With Getty, part of the idea was to take two genres we felt we knew, which was the kidnapping genre and what we’ll call the ‘great man’ genre – the ‘Citizen Kane’ genre – and smash them together and make something new out of them.
With ‘Cleopatra’ … instead of doing the movie as the prestige picture – the three-hour, lots of pageantry, people with fans and English accents and all that stuff – [we] really treat it as a political thriller. Dirty, bloody, lots of people swearing and having sex and all of that other stuff and just treat it as a two-hour, lean, mean political thriller, full of assassinations, etc. Just going the opposite direction from the way we think that movie is going to go.”
This approach doesn’t always work, Michael Mann’s Dillinger biopic “Public Enemies” showed how telling a period tale with modern thriller sensibility and filming techniques like steadicam doesn’t necessarily work.
When “Cleopatra” will go into production isn’t known as Villeneuve is slated to film an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” next.