Coens’ plans for ‘Sea’ sink

Budgetary concerns torpedo plans for Pitt pic

The Coen Bros. will not be going “To the White Sea” after all. Neither will Brad Pitt.

Like its protagonist, the picture seems to have been shot down over a disagreement.

“To the White Sea” had originally been adapted from the 1993 James Dickey novel of the same name by David Webb Peoples (“Unforgiven”), with the Coens penning a subsequent draft. Pitt was to have played a B-29 bomber gunner and expert woodsman who is shot down in Japan and must make his escape northward.

This marks the second time that producers Richard Roth and Jeremy Thomas had attempted to come to terms with Fox on “To the White Sea.” The studio had entered negotiations just over two years ago, but those talks also stalled.

Sources familiar with the deal said that the Coens (Joel and Ethan) and the studio could not come to agreement on the budget for the pic, which was to have been filmed on location in Japan — never a cheap prospect. Novel was set in the ruins of Tokyo and subsequently, on its northern island of Hokkaido.

Thomas’ HanWay Films had been trying to cobble together the foreign sales agreements that would have financed the pic. Fox’s commitment was understood to have been solely for domestic distribbing.

A Fox spokeswoman declined to comment on the negotiations.

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