The movie adaptation of an Alex von Tunzelmann book was to star Blanchett as the wife of Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of the British Indian Empire who oversaw the country's transition into independence in 1947. Joe Wright ('Atonement') was set to direct. Coming off a tough summer in which adult-oriented dramas including 'Public Enemies' and 'Funny People' failed to move the box-office needle, Universal has put upcoming project 'Indian Summer' on the back burner, Variety reports.
The movie adaptation of an Alex von Tunzelmann book was to star Blanchett as the wife of Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of the British Indian Empire who oversaw the country's transition into independence in 1947. Joe Wright ('Atonement') was set to direct.
In fact, the film already had a production start date for early next year. But money and creative issues got in the way.
First and foremost, sophisticated adult dramas may be working on television, but not at the box office. Universal found this out firsthand over summer.
For example, the studio's Michael Mann-directed John Dillinger biopic 'Public Enemies,' which starred Johnny Depp, struggled to break even, earning about $200 million worldwide –- enough to cover a $100 million production budget plus all the money that went into marketing and other release costs.
Then came a real money-loser, 'Funny People,' filmmaker Judd Apatow's attempt to transition into weightier melodrama. That movie, which cost $75 million just to produce, took in just upward of $60 million globally over the summer.
'Indian Summer' would have cost Universal somewhere between $30 million-$40 million to produce, a sum still too rich for the blood of the studio, which is now under new management after its summer of discontent.
But there were also issues with the Indian government, whose cooperation was necessary since the film was going to shoot in country.
Universal wanted to craft a love story, focusing on an alleged love affair between Blanchett's character and Jewaharlal Nehru, India's first post-independence prime minister ... and the Indian government just wasn't into that. Go figure.
"We were in between a rock and a hard place," Wright told Variety. "The Indian government wanted us to make less of the love story, while the studio wanted us to make more of the love story." Now it'll be a miracle if they make any story whatsoever.