Inside Move: Haggling stalls ‘Geisha’ again

Miramax intends to exercise option over Marshall

A correction was made to this article on Oct. 21, 2003.

Discussions for Rob Marshall to direct “Memoirs of a Geisha” as his follow-up to “Chicago” have stalled over whether Miramax, which has an option on Marshall, will come aboard as a co-producer on the pic.

This past summer, Marshall had signaled interest in helming the adaptation of Arthur Golden’s novel, the long-delayed project being produced by Red Wagon for Columbia and DreamWorks.

Things got complicated, however, after Miramax notified Marshall that it planned to exercise its option on him to direct his second feature for the company (Variety, Sept. 14).

Talks ensued among Miramax, Columbia and DreamWorks. Several scenarios were put on the table whereby Miramax would join as a co-producer, but none was acceptable to all three studios.

Miramax has co-produced several pictures with Columbia. Miramax’s next-picture options on directors led to the studio co-producing with Col both “The Shipping News” and “All the Pretty Horses.” It has less of a track record co-producing with DreamWorks. Their first joint effort is John Madden’s “Tulip Fever.” But there, too, Miramax held an option on Madden, dating back to his Oscar-winning “Shakespeare in Love.”

On Madden’s last release, “Captain Correlli’s Mandolin,” Miramax used its option on the helmer to co-produce the pic with Universal. But that deal only came together after Columbia and Miramax couldn’t come to terms on co-producing “Shanghai.”

“Geisha” has had some trouble securing a helmer in its long development history. Steven Spielberg first considered directing an adaptation of the 1997 bestseller but moved on after four years of development. After his exit, helmers Kimberly Peirce and Spike Jonze were each briefly attached. Spielberg remains involved as an exec producer.

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