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Universal, Imagine halt ‘Cartel’

Pic was to start filming in five weeks

Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have decided not to move forward with the Mexican drug drama “Cartel.”

Pic was being prepped to start lensing in Mexico five weeks from now, with Asger Leth at the helm and Josh Brolin set to star.

Brolin would have played a man on a mission to protect his son after his wife is brutally murdered in the gritty world of Mexican drug cartels.

“Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment ceased pre-production of ‘Cartel’ today,” the studio and production shingle said in a statement. “As much as we had hoped to begin filming this spring in Mexico City, the studio and its producing partners did not feel it was creatively ready to move forward under the timetable and budget we had established. We thank all of the filmmakers, cast and crew for their work during pre-production.”

Peter Craig penned the script that had initially had Sean Penn attached to star. Project was inspired by the 1993 Italian film “La Scorta.” Brian Grazer was producing.

With Adam Fogelson and Donna Langley now overseeing the studio’s future slates, the duo have been paring away the kinds of films that haven’t been performing lately for the studio, namely adult dramas like “The Green Zone” and “State of Play,” that proved expensive to produce and appealed to a limited audience.

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