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Verhoeven exits Col’s ‘Mistress of the Seas’

In what sets one of the studio’s most ambitious 1994 releases back a major step, Columbia Pictures announced late Monday evening that director Paul Verhoeven has ankled the $ 65 million Geena Davis-starrer “Mistress of the Seas.”

“Creative differences” were cited as the reason for Verhoeven’s exit.

The status of Davis, one of Hollywood’s top female box-office draws, was unclear late Monday.

Sources indicated the split between Columbia’s senior level production executives and the director of “Total Recall,””RoboCop” and “Basic Instinct” was volatile.

However, according to its statement, Columbia “values its relationship with Verhoeven and is looking forward to working with him on other feature film projects.”

Columbia executive veepee Sid Ganis said the studio’s production team and producer Jon Peters were hard at work to fix Michael Cristofer’s screenplay and find a new director.

Based on John Carlova’s book, “Mistress of the Seas” is described as an epic pirate adventure about Anne Bonnie and Mary Reed — two women who disguised themselves as men to take to the high seas, and ironically ended up on the same boat in love with the same man.

The stormy seas for “Mistress of the Seas” has significant implications for Columbia, since it was the single largest movie in pre-production at the studio. The movie was scheduled to start production between November and January 1994.

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