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Has ‘WWZ 2’ Delay Created Opening For Brad Pitt On James Gray’s ‘Ad Astra’?

Deadline logo Deadline 2/8/2017 Diana Lodderhose
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EXCLUSIVE: Now that Paramount has pulled the World War Z sequel off the release calendar, the question around town is: What will Brad Pitt star in next? We hear the front-runner is Ad Astra, the futuristic sci-fi epic that James Gray co-wrote and will direct. Sources said work is being done to keep the budget manageable but that the project is on the verge of landing at New Regency — where Pitt’s Plan B has its deal — and could be in production by summer.

Pitt produced Gray’s latest film The Lost City of Z, which premiered at the New York Film Festival and was acquired by Amazon Studios for release in April. Pitt originally was attached to star in that film, in the role played by Charlie Hunnam, and he once also was attached to Gray’s The Gray Man. Meanwhile, Paramount and Plan B continue to work on the WWZ 2 script and the ongoing effort to get director David Fincher to commit.

In Ad Astra (which means “to the stars” in Latin), Pitt would play the slightly autistic space engineer Roy McBride. Twenty years after his father left on a one-way mission to Neptune in order to find signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence, McBride travels through the solar system to find him and understand why his mission failed.

Gray wrote the script with Ethan Gross, and RT Features financed that development phase independently to get it this far. Plan B is joining the producers roster of Gray, RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira, Keep Your Head Productions’ Anthony Katagas and Mad River’s Marc Butan. RT Features’ Lourenco Sant’Anna and Sophie Mas are exec producing.

CAA, which reps Gray and Pitt, is repping domestic rights. Pitt is managed by Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

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