WB pursuing substitute in time for early fall shoot date

Mark Pellington has exited the director’s chair for WB’s upcoming Harrison Ford starrer “The Wrong Element.”

Helmer, who came aboard the pic in early July, bowed out due to the death of his wife last week after a brief illness.

WB has yet to find a replacement for Pellington, though the studio is actively pursuing a substitute to keep the pic’s intended early fall shoot date.

“I am unfortunately stepping down from the job of directing the film ‘The Wrong Element’ due to the recent tragic loss of my beloved wife Jennifer,” Pellington said Monday in a statement to Variety. “It is a difficult time, and having suffered the loss of my life partner and mother to my child, I would not be able to commit the time and energy and focus at this point needed to truly successfully helm the film.”

Pic, to star Ford and Paul Bettany, is being co-financed with Village Roadshow Pictures. Jon Shestack and Beacon Communications chairman Armyan Bernstein are producing. Pic, penned by Joe Forte, revolves around the security chief for a global bank whose family is kidnapped.

Pellington directed “Arlington Road” and “The Mothman Prophecies.” He is not attached to any other projects.

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