Universal Pictures' high-profile project "State of Play" is losing its bright star. Male lead Brad Pitt has taken decision to pull out from the crime thriller drama, which was supposed to mark his reunion with Edward Norton since 1999's "Fight Club."
"Brad Pitt has left the Universal Pictures production of 'State of Play'", Universal said in a statement. "We remain committed to this project and to the filmmakers, cast members, crew and others who are also involved in making the movie. We reserve all rights in this matter."
Pitt is said to be out of the flick early Wednesday, November 21, 2007 following two weeks of struggle and meetings with director Kevin Macdonald that made production on the movie unable to be carried out on the original November 15 start date. Reports indicated that the reason behind the actor's departure was because of his disagreement with Universal over the screenplay.
Pitt was noted to first spark to the film's script penned by Matthew Michael Carnahan, but while he went off and made several movies in quick succession, Universal unexpectedly went through several rewrites by the likes of Peter Morgan, Tony Gilroy, and Billy Ray. It was somewhere along this rewrite trail that his vision departed with that of the studio.
While Universal will try to do recast by November 29, the studio considers Pitt to have walked out of a pay or play commitment, and is open to the option to sue him if the movie cannot be recast in time to keep the other actors in place. The star's camp, on the other hand, disputes that he violated a pay or play deal, that he ever approved a final script, or that he even wanted to drop out of the film that he has been the driving force behind for 16 months.