Denis Villeneuve in talks to direct 'Cleopatra'

Denis Villeneuve (ETTORE FERRARI/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Denis Villeneuve (ETTORE FERRARI/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

By Justin Kroll, Variety

Denis Villeneuve is in early talks to direct Sony’s long-in-development biopic Cleopatra.

Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin are producing based on Stacy Schiff’s book about the powerful Egyptian ruler who created a dynasty before her eventual downfall due to her love affair with Roman soldier Marc Anthony.

Sony has been trying to get the film off the ground for quite some time with filmmakers like Paul Greengrass and James Cameron circling at one point. Villeneuve is currently attached to direct a Dune reboot at Legendary. He will helm the latter while developing Cleopatra.

David Scarpa, Eric Roth, and Brian Helgeland have all worked on past drafts. Angelina Jolie has long been linked to the project, but it’s unknown whether she is still on board to star.

In leaked emails that surfaced following the Sony hack, Rudin infamously attacked Jolie’s involvement in the film, calling her “a minimally talented spoiled brat.” “Kill me please. Immediately,” he also told Pascal in June 2014 when he learned Jolie was interested in directing the movie.

Villeneuve is about to start his world press tour on the highly anticipated Blade Runner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. He was nominated for best director at this year’s Oscars for Arrival.