Today has been an odd day for Annapurna Pictures, as the studio surprised many and deleted two films from its upcoming slate of projects and got rid of one its highest executives.
The news began with a report that the studio decided to part ways with the upcoming Fox News/Roger Ailes project that was set to go before cameras in two weeks. The untitled film, which would tell the story of the fall of Ailes after sexual harassment allegations, is set to star Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, John Lithgow, and Margot Robbie. The film is written by Charles Randolph, best known for his work on “The Big Short,” and is slated to be helmed by Jay Roach.
READ MORE: Charlize Theron To Portray Megyn Kelly In Film About Disgraced Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes
Luckily for the cast and crew involved, Variety says that Focus Features is stepping up to the plate to rescue the project. The report claims that a rising budget, as well as potential behind-the-scenes issues at the studio (explained below), could have led to the Roger Ailes film being cut.
While the idea of a film being cut by Annapurna is news enough, the studio also decided to part ways with another film that was set to go into production soon. Variety reports that “The Hustlers at Scores,” starring Jennifer Lopez and “Crazy Rich Asians” star Constance Wu, has been dropped by Annapurna due to “creative differences.”
READ MORE: Jennifer Lopez To Star In Strip Club Crime Film ‘Hustlers’ From Director Lorene Scafaria
“The Hustlers at Scores” is set to be directed by Lorene Scafaria and is said to be about dancers at the titular club and how they made due during the financial crisis in 2008. It’s based on a true story. Variety also says that STX is in advanced talks to buy the film and continue development.
And to put everything in perspective and answer everyone’s questions, Variety comes through again with yet another report today clearing up the reasons for these films being cut by Annapurna. Chelsea Barnard, President of Film at the studio, has apparently left the company. No reason was given, but the two films that she was spearheading are the aforementioned Roger Ailes and ‘Hustlers’ films. Annapurna CEO Megan Ellison has taken over to “stabilize the slate.”
It’s unknown whether these changes will affect the release dates of the films or production schedules, especially in the case of the Roger Ailes film. But needless to say, Annapurna Pictures had a hell of a Tuesday.