Sony’s Notorious ‘Cleopatra’ Biopic Is Back on With New Writer

Angelina Jolie was once attached to star in the project

Sony has hired “The Last Castle” writer David Scarpa to rewrite its long-dormant “Cleopatra” biopic, TheWrap has learned.

The “Cleopatra” project is based on Stacy Schiff’s best-selling book, “Cleopatra: A Life.”

Angelina Jolie was once attached to star in the project, and she notoriously attempted to lure David Fincher to direct. The proposed film was the subject of some of the most caustic emails leaked after the Sony hack in November 2014.

The narrative began around anxiety over director Fincher possibly being lured by Jolie away from the Scott Rudin-produced “Jobs” biopic to direct a “Cleopatra” update, limiting his window to helm “Jobs” and its then-attached star, Christian Bale.

Rudin had no sympathy for Jolie’s desire to court Fincher, and further requests from Jolie to meet with Fincher caused Rudin to warn then-Sony Pictures boss Amy Pascal that she’d “BETTER SHUT ANGIE DOWN BEFORE SHE MAKES IT VERY HARD FOR DAVID TO DO JOBS.”

From there, Rudin stirred the pot by implying that Pascal was starstruck by Jolie, wasting her time trying to make Fincher happen for “Cleopatra.” Rudin shared his own thoughts about Mrs. Brad Pitt, and didn’t sugarcoat them, calling her a “minimally talented spoiled brat.”

In the end, Fincher and Bale both stepped away from “Jobs,” which wound up at Universal with Danny Boyle directing Michael Fassbender to critical acclaim but modest box office results.

Scarpa’s upcoming projects include “All the Money in the World,” which made the Black List last year. He is represented by The Gersh Agency.

Deadline was the first to report the story. Sony couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.