More Films Canceled Due to Writers' Strike

Posted on November 19, 2007

More movies bit the dust, as studios have canceled the feature films Shantaram and Nine. The film version of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons has also been temporarily scuttled because of the writers' strike.
Warner Bros. called off a February production start on "Shantaram," the Mira Nair-directed adaptation of the Gregory David Roberts novel that was to star Johnny Depp. The Weinstein Co., meanwhile, postponed "Nine," the Rob Marshall-directed musical that was slated to start production in March with Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren and Marion Cotillard starring. Delays were caused because the scripts weren't ready. Sony previously delayed the Ron Howard-directed "Angels & Demons," and United Artists halted the Oliver Stone-directed "Pinkville," citing the same reason.

In all four cases, the sponsoring studios decided they couldn't overcome logistical and script problems exacerbated by the Writers Guild strike that is preventing rewrites, along with the looming expirations of the Directors Guild and Screen Actors Guild contracts in June. Other films are struggling to avoid the same fate.

Depp, who is producing "Shantaram" with Graham King, planned to spend the winter in India, playing an Australian heroin addict who escapes a maximum-security prison, reinvents himself as a doctor in the slums of India and eventually uses gun-running and counterfeiting skills to fight against the invading Russian troops in Afghanistan. Abhishek Bachchan was also set to star.
The WGA and the AMPTP have agreed to start talks again on Monday, November 26th, so that's promising. But the parties are still very far apart on the crucial issues of payment to writers for new media.

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