The fallout from the Sony hack attack continued yesterday with the announcement that 20th Century Fox had cancelled a planned North Korea-set paranoid thriller titled Pyongyang–starring Steve Carell–that Gore Verbinski was to direct, and now the Pirates of the Caribbean helmer has issued a statement via Deadline:
Getting the facts straight:
Yesterday, I was told by New Regency and Fox that Fox will no longer be distributing the film. Prior to that, the film was green lit and fully funded by New Regency with Fox distributing. I have been told in no uncertain words that based on the situation at Sony, Fox has now decided to not distribute the film. Without a distributor, New Regency was forced to shut the film down.
I find it ironic that fear is eliminating the possibility to tell stories that depict our ability to overcome fear.
Verbinski, who won an Oscar for the animated film Rango and most recently directed The Lone Ranger, was to make Pyongyang from a script by Steve Conrad, who worked with Verbinski previously on the underrated dramedy The Weather Man.
Carell posted two modest missives on Twitter regarding the situation:
Sad day for creative expression. #feareatsthesoul
— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) December 17, 2014
— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) December 18, 2014
According to Deadline, Fox did not prevent New Regency from taking the film to other studios, but given the current climate of fear among Hollywood (as exemplified by the cancelled release of The Interview) there were no takers.
Verbinski will now likely move on to two other projects he had planned to helm back-to-back for New Regency, namely a horror film titled A Cure For Wellness and a large-scale action comedy called Passengers (not to be confused with the Keanu Reeves sci-fi project of the same name), also written by Conrad. Carell has the Peter Sollet-directed film Freeheld in post-production, as well as the Looney Tunes-inspired film ACME in development at Warner Bros.
(Photo Credit: WENN)