Polanski No Longer Going Up Pompeii

Director pulls out of disaster film epic

Polanski No Longer Going Up Pompeii

by Dan Jolin |
Published on

If Pompeii is to be destroyed, it will have to be at the hands of another director, after it was today revealed that Roman Polanski has pulled out of the big-budget disaster movie about the famous fate of the Italian town flattened by an erupting Mount Vesuvius.

Screen Daily is reporting that Polanski pulled out of the movie, based on the Robert Harris novel, after the movie’s backers, Summit International, admitted it may have to postpone production – which had been scheduled for next summer – because of fears of a possible industry strike next year.

The strike has already forced a number of late 2008/2009 projects to rush to the starting line in order to get film in the can before it hits (if it hits), but Pompeii may be the first big movie that could be pushed back until after the strike is over. Sadly, by then, Polanski’s schedule won’t permit him to give Pompeii the time it needs.

"I put a lot of work and energy into the development of Pompeii, so it is not without regret that I have to decline my further involvement," said Polanski.

Summit International, particularly the movie’s producers Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde, are now looking for a new director for the project, which embroiders the countdown to the eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii with a plot that sees a young engineer caught up in political intrigue in the town.

There had been rumours that Polanski had been courting Orlando Bloom and Scarlett Johansson in the lead roles (yes, Pompeii is also a love story set against the backdrop of a major disaster, a la Titanic), but all casting decisions will have to be postponed until the new helmer is on board.

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