Fuqua escapes ‘Entrapment’

Helmer ankles Connery starrer

Creative differences have taken another casualty in Hollywood. Weeks before Fox’s big-budget Sean Connery starrer “Entrapment” was to have begun production, director Antoine Fuqua has ankled the pic, the studio confirmed Friday.

Tom Rothman’s 20th Century Fox film division has struck a deal with British director Jon Amiel (“Sommersby”) to replace Fuqua at the helm of the pic, which now has been pushed from a late April to a mid-June start date in London.

Fuqua’s departure was attributed to “creative differences,” and was said to be “a non-acrimonious parting of the ways.” It was not clear which party initiated the move. A Fox source said it was a mutual decision, stemming from different visions of the movie. A source close to Fuqua said the director left the project after it became clear the film had become a different project from the one he’d originally signed on for.

Both sides agree that Fuqua’s exit can be attributed to the restructuring of the script from a big-budget, action-laden heist pic to more of a character-driven romantic thriller with a heist backdrop. Ron Bass penned the original screenplay, and “Apollo 13” scribe William Broyles did the most recent rewrite of the script.

As the script changed, so too did the budget, which is said to have been tagged at around $75 million when Fuqua was attached, but now will reside somewhere in the $60 million neighborhood.

In addition to Connery, who will executive produce the film, “Entrapment” co-stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is the only other cast member to have signed on to date. She stars as Connery’s accomplice in crime and love interest.

Rhonda Tollefson and Michael Hertzberg will produce.

Fuqua’s ankling comes just three weeks after Fox 2000 topper Laura Ziskin fired helmer Milcho Manchevski from the feature “Ravenous,” which, at that time, was a couple weeks into production. Antonia Bird has since taken the helm, and the pic is currently back before the cameras in Prague.

And in the midst of pre-production a few weeks ago, Geoffrey Wright ankled United Artists’ sci-fi pic “Supernova.” Walter Hill recently signed to helm the project.

Amiel’s deal was brokered by ICM’s Martha Luttrell.

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