Paramount Balked at $80 Million Price Tag for Kathryn Bigelow’s TRIPLE FRONTIER; Director Refused to Cast Will Smith

     December 20, 2012

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Back in 2010, Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal were coming off their Oscar wins for The Hurt Locker, and turning their attention to the crime drama Triple Frontier (also known as Sleeping Dogs).  The details of the plot were unknown, but the film was billed as an action-adventure set in a border zone of South America known as “la triple frontera”, a haven for organized crime.  Tom Hanks was attached to play one of the leads, and other stars were rumored for the picture including Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Denzel Washington, and Javier Bardem.  The plan was to start filming in March 2011.  But then Bigelow and Boal decided to hit pause, and do an indie thriller before Triple Frontier.  It’s worth noting that Variety shot down a rumor that “the plot concerns the hunt for Osama Bin Laden,” even though that rumor ultimately turned out to be true.  However, at that time the indie thriller was about losing Bin Laden in the Tora Bora Mountains; once he was killed, the script had to be updated.

So what happened with Triple Frontier?  Hit the jump for more.

In a piece about the working relationship between Bigelow and Boal, THR mentions that Will Smith was interested in Triple Frontier.  While plenty of filmmakers would go out of their way to cast one of the biggest movie stars in the world since it would virtually guarantee a greenlight, Bigelow wasn’t interested.  Her agents had to press Paramount to get the director and star to sit down, and she still remained uninterested in casting him.

The future of the project remains unknown; Paramount balked at the price tag, which was rumored to be around $80 million.  Obviously, if a star like Smith had come on board to star opposite Hanks, the studio probably wouldn’t be so resistant.  If Zero Dark Thirty does as well with awards groups and audiences as it has with critics, then perhaps Bigelow will have the pull to get Triple Frontier off the ground with the cast she wants.

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