WB drains 'Fountain' as thesp joins pic as Greek hero

Brad Pitt will star in the Warner Bros. Pictures epic “Troy” for director Wolfgang Petersen.

Barring a blip in final negotiations, Pitt will portray the hero Achilles in a dramatization of Homer’s “The Iliad” adapted by novelist and screenwriter David Benioff (“The 25th Hour”). Petersen will also produce with Diana Rathbun, with production slated to begin next spring.

As anticipated, Pitt’s decision to embody the Greek hero means that Warners will indefinitely postpone production on Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain.” (Daily Variety, Aug. 29)

Said Jeff Robinov, Warners’ president of production, “Although we are disappointed not to be moving forward with ‘The Fountain’ right now, we remain committed to working with the film’s director, Darren Aronofsky, a filmmaker with unique vision and exceptional taste.”

The decision reps a major anticlimax for Aronofsky’s project, which he has been developing with Pitt for nearly two years.

Over that time, Pitt remained attached to “The Fountain” even as it was delayed for a year over script issues and co-star Cate Blanchett’s pregnancy, was the subject of repeated budget battles at the studio and changed co-financiers, from Village Roadshow to New Regency.

“Given my friendship and respect for Darren and the year and a half we’ve dedicated to working on this project, I too am disappointed,” Pitt said. “Still, I remain encouraged that ‘The Fountain’ will yet have its day.”

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