Here's one for the "weird and wonderful" pile: Steven Soderbergh wants to make a 3-D, live-action rock musical called Cleo, and he's hoping that Catherine Zeta-Jones will walk like an Egyptian as the titular ruler Cleopatra and that Hugh Jackman star as her Roman lover Marc Anthony.
Now, while you sputter and say, "Um, what?!" for a little bit, let's take a deep breath and remember that Soderbergh can make lots of crazy-sounding ideas work perfectly well - and coming off the back-to-back seriousness of his two-part Che biopic and the upcoming Matt Damon-starring corporate thriller The Informant, he's probably in the mood for some high kicks.
The casting's not at all fixed yet, but Soderbergh's clearly aiming for a combo of singing-dancing experience and extreme prettiness, for which we can only applaud him. The two stars are about the right age as well - the two legendary lovers got together rather late on, comparatively speaking, and of course then made the mistake of getting into a fight with Roman ruler Caesar Octavian and losing, forcing Marc Anthony to fall on his sword and Cleopatra to sit on an asp. Ooops, spoiler!
The music for the film was written by indie band Guided by Voices, with a script by James Greer, a former bass player in the band and author. The overall budget's about $30 million, which means that the two leads, if cast, would probably have to work for less than their top fees.
The more we think about this, the more we fancy seeing chorus lines of high-kicking eunuchs and Roman legionnaires. But Soderbergh's got to finish tinkering with The Informer, and is lined up to make The Girlfriend Experience with porn star Sasha Grey, and is also working on a LIberace film with Mr Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, as the flamboyant pianist and Matt Damon (again) as his lover. Let's hope he makes this one work, because it sounds like it could be fant-asp-tic (sorry).