Inside Move: Sony waves goodbye to Mangold’s ‘Yuma’

Oater finished at studio

Director James Mangold’s oater “3:10 to Yuma” is riding off in a different direction.

Pic was ready to start shooting this summer for Sony, but after four years of development, the studio has put the pic in turnaround.

“This is deja vu all over again,” Mangold told Daily Variety, referring to the fact that his last film, “Walk the Line,” was also set up at Sony and ready to start shooting when the studio pulled out. Mangold shopped that film all over town and was turned down by every studio but Fox, where the pic went on to be a critical and commercial hit.

Now producers Cathy Konrad and Mangold are in discussions with other studios to make “Yuma.” Mangold says he plans to start shooting in October.

Having Russell Crowe attached helps the chances. Crowe became available when he bailed on Baz Luhrmann’s Australian epic at Fox. (Hugh Jackman is now starring in that pic.) Previously, Tom Cruise was circling “Yuma,” but a deal was never made.

Because Sony owns the rights to the original 1957 Glenn Ford Western, it will still be a profit participant in the pic.

Unlike recent pics that studios have put the brakes on — such as “Used Guys” at Fox and “Ripley’s Believe it Or Not” at Paramount — “3:10 to Yuma” does not have an exploding budget.

“This is a very middle-priced movie,” Mangold said. “I’ve never made a movie that has exceeded $60 million, and this one won’t either.”

Sources said part of Sony’s concern was the back-end gross of Crowe, a $20 million star. Another concern was that Westerns don’t typically travel abroad.

“Westerns have come to mean a kind of narcissistic, ponderous film — and that ain’t what we’re making,” Mangold said. “We’re making something with balls, taste and emotion. And I think it’s something that’s an answer to the kind of saturated, digital overload we’re seeing on screens. This is about real people and real action.”

He continued: “I have the utmost respect for Sony, Amy Pascal, Doug Belgrad, and I can’t explain why it wouldn’t fit into what they’re doing. The only explanation I have is that when push came to shove it wasn’t going.”

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