James Cameron is not a man exactly hurting for work: he has the Avatar sequel in active development, has been writing a novel set in the Pandora universe and has at least three other projects bubbling along. So when Deadline reports that Sony is chasing him to direct their epic new take on Cleopatra, starring Angelina Jolie, we raise a quizzical eyebrow and mark it down as a “possible” for now.
But apparently Sony and boss Amy Pascal are of the opinion that he’s the perfect man for the job.
We can see their point – Cameron knows how to do epic and his bigger films (you might have heard of Titanic and Avatar) make big bucks. But while Titanic was a historical drama, Cleopatra would be something else again.
And though the script was the one thing that most people felt was lacking about the ship-set disaster pic, Cleopatra comes with extra assurance – a screenplay by Brian Helgeland that is reportedly "brilliant”, deserving of epic treatment" and all about "what the Romans took from Egypt".
Jolie has been attached for a while, almost since producer Scott Rudin nabbed the rights to the source material, Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra: A Life, which de-mystifies the woman and discovers her real strengths. So, again: strong woman lead, real Cameron territory.
It’s likely to be expensive and Sony really wants it shooting next year, aiming to capitalise on its new, The Tourist-driven relationship with Jolie. The schedule might be the biggest sticking point, as Cameron would likely put his own films first. But a huge, 3D epic history with a fresh take on Cleopatra, starring Jolie, brought to cinemas by James Cameron? Surely that’d be a thing to see…