Spielberg out, Ang Lee possibly in for epic Moses biopic, GODS AND KINGS

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It was quite the shocker (not like that, you perverts) when Ang Lee’s name was drawn from the envelope for Best Director at the Oscars a few weeks back. Life of Pi was certainly a well directed movie, but many folks, myself included, thought that after after dropping the Mega-Snub Bomb on Ben Affleck, that the Academy would go with Steven Spielberg instead, but it wasn’t to be.

We’re now hearing that Senor Spielbergo might have dropped out of his planned Moses biopic. So who else to bring in to replace him, than the guy who just beat him?

If you recall, way back in January 2012, Spielberg was reportedly close to sealing a deal with Warner Bros to helm the biopic, Gods and Kings. Instead of the classic romanticized biblical tales, Spielberg was asked to rather produce a “gritty warrior story” much like his Oscar winning WWII drama Saving Private Ryan, that would track the biblical leader’s life from birth to slavery to warrior general to death.

Production was initially planned to kick off this month actually, but that target date was hampered by WB’s negotiations with Spielberg taking longer than expected. And now Deadline is reporting that Spielberg has just thrown a dreidel into the works, by backing out of the project completely. There’s no official reason given for Spielberg’s retreat, but I’m guessing that with recently discovered Napoleonic complexes and delayed Robopocalypses, his dance card is getting pretty full.

This has prompted WB to immediately reach out to the Taiwanese director, Ang Lee, who after his Life of Pi win now equals Spielberg in terms of Oscars street cred. You know, if such a thing as Oscars street cred actually existed. At this moment Lee is said to just be “intrigued” by the offer but he has yet to sit down to any formal discussions with WB about the script, which was penned by Michael Green (Green Lantern, oof!) and Stuart Hazeldine (Paradise Lost).

What might be holding him back, at least for the moment, is that Lee is apparently committed to making is TV debut by directing the pilot episode for FX’s “Tyrant“, a new drama series from award winning producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff, about “an unassuming American family drawn into the affairs of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation.” Production on the pilot is expected to kick off in Morrocco in June.

And while filming a single episode is certainly not going to hold Lee back for a huge amount of time, WB are on the clock as a competing Moses related project from director Ridley Scott, Exodus, appears to be gaining steam.

Lee has proven himself quite the capable genre hopper thus far in his career, and I’d like to see what he can do with a “gritty” bible story, so I hope the scheduling fairies pay him a visit to sort this all out.

Last Updated: March 18, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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