It’s not the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” after all. According to sources close to the Harrison Ford/Kristen Scott Thomas-starrer, Universal Pictures has told the film’s writer-director-producer Phil Alden Robinson and producer Sean Daniel that they do not plan to proceed with the movie.
No single reason was given, although sources say Universal and the producers were unable to agree on a budget for the pic set in war-torn Bosnia. Also contributing to the decision were the geopolitics and logistics involved in shooting the film on location in Bosnia.
These factors, combined with the cost of A-list talent — Ford reportedly was to receive at least $20 million for his role — put the budget of “Aquarius” well north of $80 million, sources involved in the project said.
No one had a pay-or-play contract on the project, but it was tentatively scheduled to go before the cameras in January or February.
U’s decision comes despite the fact that the studio had pacted with Gary Levinsohn and Mark Gordon’s Mutual Film Co. to co-finance the film, along with four others (Daily Variety, Oct. 14). Mutual was handling international rights for four territories through its four overseas partners: Germany’s Telemunchen, the U.K.’s BBC, Japan’s Toho-Towa/Maubeni and France’s UGC.
The news came as a surprise to Mutual, where an exec said he hadn’t heard of U’s decision until they received calls from the press.
Robinson had been developing the film for a few years after Universal acquired the bestselling memoir “Zlata’s Diary” for the him. Script was an amalgamation of Robinson’s research and the book, with Ford set to star as a mercenary who ferries food and weapons to war-torn countries, selling them for profit. He falls in love with a Bosnian woman (Scott Thomas). While sources did not rule out a revival of the film at some later date, it seems unlikely that U would be able to find a window in which Ford and Thomas would be available, or that a suitable budget could be created. Reps for Ford and Scott Thomas could not be reached for comment.