With this latest bit of news, one things for certain: Kevin Macdonald is hurting when he should be playing. State of Play already lost Brad Pitt in November. He was having a slew of issues with the director, and decided to back out of his deal, which instigated Universal to make some threats of legal action. It was particularly crappy timing for the project, since it was set to begin filming when the actor bailed. Word later came that Pitt wasn't happy with the script, and thought it needed work. Presumably not interested in waiting the strike out, Universal disagreed, so they turned to wooing Russell Crowe to replace Brad.

The production will now begin in January, and Variety reports that star #2 is backing out -- Ed Norton. This departure, however, is because of a clash in start times -- State of Play now interferes with Norton's other project, Tim Blake Nelson's Leaves of Grass. So Eddie is out, and Universal already has its replacement -- Ben Affleck. So, as it stands now, Ben will be the "fast-rising politician who is 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 politician's campaigns, and he is now romancing his estranged wife." Still on the cast list, at least for now -- Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, and Jason Bateman. There is the possibility that Mirren will be the next to go -- she has a potential conflict with the upcoming Love Ranch, but they're trying to work things out.

So I ask you: Should State of Play frolic away, or is it time to shelve the project?
CATEGORIES Casting, Cinematical