Coin conflict forces rethink
You say $50 million, I say $60 million — let’s call the whole thing off.“Borgia” has come to embody a post-Neuer Markt hangover for filmmaker Neil Jordan, producer Stephen Woolley and backer Myriad Pictures. Pic is on hold as Jordan’s ICM reps enter talks with other financiers, with hopes high to get it back on track. Myriad co-president Kirk D’Amico says he’s negotiating an agreement with the producers, but no deal has been made. Myriad has been trying to trim the budget — originally $55 million — down to $50 million. That effort comes in response to a soft international marketplace, as well as Myriad’s break from former backer IN-Motion. Cost-cutting moves considered include shooting at Germany’s Babelsberg Studios to take advantage of its co-financing and production incentive, as well as the possibility of shooting battle scenes in Bulgaria. Meanwhile, the producers’ own budget crept toward $60 million, as they believed the Renaissance-set tale of the corrupt Borgia family’s rise to power in the Vatican should, logically, be shot in Italy. An interested bystander in all of this is 20th Century Fox, which entered negotiations during last month’s Cannes Film Festival for North American distribution to the pic. But that deal is contingent on Myriad closing deals for the remainder of the pic’s budget, of which Fox would cover only a small portion. Project was skedded to start shooting in September with Ewan McGregor and Christina Ricci. Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke produce with Woolley.
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