United Artists halts production on Stone film

The Oliver Stone-directed “Pinkville” has become the second major film casualty of the writer’s strike.

United Artists has halted plans to begin production in early December in Southeast Asia, sources said.

The studio agreed to finance and distribute the drama about the investigation of the Mai Lai massacre in 1968. The film was to star Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Woody Harrelson, Xzibit, Michael Pitt and Toby Jones. The budget was under $40 million and the cast and crew were preparing to leave for Thailand when the plug was pulled Friday.

The reason for the plug pull was the inability for Stone and screenwriter Mikko Alanne to hone the script any further because both are members of the WGA. Before Stone won Oscars for directing “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July,” he won an Oscar in 1979 for writing “Midnight Express.” He is a filmmaker accustomed to making changes throughout production, and that is simply not an option given the strike.

It is unclear whether UA will revive the film for a quick re-start, the way that Sony will certainly do for its “Da Vinci Code” sequel “Angels & Demons.” Pictures that lose momentum are often hard-pressed to regain it, as casts go off to other projects. And after underwhelming returns for “Lions for Lambs,” some felt it conceivable that UA won’t mind a hiatus from wartime-set films.

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