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WB’s ‘Fountain’ flowing

Aronofsky pic ready to roll

Warner Bros. Pictures has given its long-awaited greenlight to Darren Aronofsky’s sci-fi epic “The Fountain,” which will star Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Ellen Burstyn. New Regency will co-finance the film.

Budgeted north of $70 million, pic will begin production in late October in Queensland and Sydney, Australia. Project reps the first time since New Regency set up shop at 20th Century Fox in 1998 that the company will partner outside its home studio.

While the script has been kept under wraps, it’s safe to say that “The Fountain” is the sort of film that defies easy loglines. It’s the journey of one man (Pitt) in the present as well as both 500 years in the past and into the future. Among the issues it tackles are love, death and immortality.

Pic’s start date comes a year later than originally intended. Warner Bros. exec VP worldwide motion pictures Lorenzo Di Bonaventura is a longtime fan of Aronofsky’s critically acclaimed “Pi” and “Requiem for a Dream,” and the studio had hoped to release “The Fountain” this fall.

But applying Aronofsky’s sensibility to a studio film — one with a budget that dwarfs the $4.5 million “Requiem” — gave Warners pause. The studio temporarily pulled the plug late last summer when the budget kept creeping upward, the script still had development issues and Blanchett was pregnant.

At the time, Warners-based Village Roadshow Pictures intended to partner on the pic, but it bowed out earlier this year.

Aronofsky and Ari Handel wrote the script, which Aronofsky will produce with Eric Watson, his partner in Protozoa Pictures.

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