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Joe Wright's Indian Summer Put On Hold
Budget issues push back epic love story

20 October 2009  |  Written by Chris Hewitt  |  Source: Variety

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Stupid recession. First it claims Cattlegrid on Poland Street – one of Empire’s favourite lunchtime hangouts – and now it’s derailed a movie we were eagerly looking forward to, Joe Wright’s Indian Summer.

Wright had been prepping his fourth movie, an epic adaptation of the Alex von Tunzelmann novel about the last days of Britain’s colonial rule in India, for some time, with filming set to begin in India next year. Cate Blanchett had been cast as Edna Mountbatten, the wife of Britain’s Indian viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, who was alleged to have had an affair with Jawaharlal Neru, the first Indian to take the post of Prime Minister after independence was declared in 1947.

However, Variety is claiming that, in a surprising move, Universal – which had partnered, as usual, with Working Title on the movie – got cold feet about the movie’s budget, which was rumoured to be in the $30-40 million range, and has pushed it back for a while.

Working Title and Wright had looked at making the movie for around $30 million – Working Title can greenlight, on its own, any film under that figure – but couldn’t make the numbers work. And now, for the sake of an extra ten million or so, the plug has been pulled. Hopefully only on a temporary basis.

There were other factors, including the logistical difficulty of shooting in India, and concerns about the prominence of the love story between Lady Mountbatten and Neru.

However, it would seem that the budget was the main reason for the delay and, if so, that’s quite a stark development, with major implications for the future of movies like this. Increasingly, Empire has been talking to major Hollywood directors disaffected at the way the industry is going, with studios apparently only keen to greenlight major tentpoles (of budgets north of $100 million), or to pick up indie films made for under $25-30 million. Movies in the $40-80 million range are simply being ignored and left behind, because – for the most part – they won’t make that much of a killing at the box office, which obviously has repercussions for the likes of Wright, who appear happy to work almost exclusively within that zone.

But Wright remains one of the brightest directors out there, and we’re sure he’ll line up another project in next to no time. Fingers crossed, though, that when things start to pick up and the recession begins to abate, Indian Summer can get back on the starting grid. Wright and Blanchett will remain attached to the project, so watch this space.
 


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Your Comments

RE: This is bullshit
BBC reporting it cancelled (But Wright and main actors still attached??????) No doubt cancelled because of the NON AMERICAN nature of the subject. More

Posted by boristhespie at 16:37 on 21 October 2009 | Report This Post

This is bullshit
Wright is an exceptionally talented director 40 million is nothing and this has oscar written all over it. It's a massive shame but perhaps it is time Wright made a tentpole. Then follow the Christopher Nolan formula and get the studio on your side. As for The Soloist it was never going to be a massive commercial success and putting it back in the UK was a massive mistake, but still a great movie. Wright needs to move to Warners best studio and not afraid to take risks. More

Posted by phil blakeman at 14:43 on 20 October 2009 | Report This Post

Spelling mistake.
It is not Jawaharlal Neru, it is Nehru. More

Posted by lazygarfield at 11:53 on 20 October 2009 | Report This Post

I fully accept the logic that films cost money and therefore need to make money, but this is a regrettable case of strict thinking-inside-the-box. Even if The Soloist was a commercial disappointment, the execs would need to see the reasons for that, particularly the marketing. 10 million is probably the tea boy's budget on Transformers 3, so why the bloody hell do they kick up such a fuss over an amount of money that's chickenshit in the grander scheme of the film business? Boo. And hiss, ind More

Posted by Manfrendshensindshen at 11:48 on 20 October 2009 | Report This Post

God, imagine putting all that effort, time and imagination into prepping a film only to have the carpet swept from under your feet by a studio. That is harsh. . . More

Posted by Anduril666 at 11:33 on 20 October 2009 | Report This Post

Suprising move?
This shouldn't be that suprising Empire - Joe Wright talked about how the film had been canceled on Film 2009 a few weeks ago. Great shame becuse it looked like a promising mix of director/star/subject. More

Posted by gusbuster at 11:31 on 20 October 2009 | Report This Post

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