How giddy was director Kevin Macdonald when he found out he was going to be directing two of Hollywood’s most talented leading men, only to have them both walk off the film? That’s right, following in the footsteps of Brad Pitt, Edward Norton has exited Macdonald’s political thriller “State of Play”. So if Norton is out, who is in? Um, how about Ben Affleck.
Now it will be Affleck who plays a fast-rising politician caught up in a murder conspiracy. Crowe will play a journalist who leads a newspaper’s investigation into the killing. He’s conflicted in that he once ran the pol’s campaigns and is now romancing the solon’s estranged wife.
Still in the cast are Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn and Jason Bateman. Andrew Hauptman and Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing. While Mirren had a stop date so she could star with Joe Pesci in the Taylor Hackford-directed “Love Ranch,” attempts are being made to work out the sked.
Getting Russell Crowe to replace Brad Pitt isn’t such a big deal; you really don’t lose a lot in star wattage and talent, but getting Ben Affleck to replace Ed Norton? Definitely a drop off there…