TROUBLE CITY

THE SHERIFF IS NEAR?

Movie NewsJeremy SmithComment

http://chud.com/nextraimages/helgelandset.jpgSir Ridley Scott loves to keep us guessing. Or he just likes to acquire projects. Though I've been assured that Body of Lies aka Penetration - which would re-team Scott with Kingdom of Heaven scribe William Monahan, who, in turn, would be re-teaming with The Departed lead Leonardo DiCaprio - will be the master filmmaker's next picture after American Gangster, things change. Is Michael Mann's 1930s backlot noir going to finally get the $120 million budget it deserves and steal away DiCaprio? Probably not (though I hear the John Logan screenplay is fantastic), which gives us every reason to believe the star will hang in there and topline the CIA/al Qaeda drama for Scott.

But what does Sir Ridley do after that? Will he try Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian? Does he give Child 44 a shot? Or does he stick with American Gangster producer Brian Grazer and do Nottingham with Russell Crowe, who will play a historically revised version of the Sheriff of That Town in the Title (in this rendition, he's just a good cop trying to make it home to his wife and kids at the end of his shift)? I'm hesitant to make any predictions, because, knowing Sir Ridley, he'll commit to one and then all of a sudden announce his intent to direct Silas Marner or a remake of O.C. and Stiggs. He's slippery like that.

But if the Oscar-winning screenwriter Brian Helgeland has been hired to rework Nottingham, I've got to think it just nosed its way to the inside track. And I can't say I'm pleased about that. Though I haven't read the script, an historically... non-traditional take on the Robin Hood legend doesn't excite me. Maybe you feel differently. If so, keep it to yourself, you prick.

Helgeland will be rewriting Sleeper Cell creators Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris. All told, I think Helgeland's a better writer, but it's hard to unconditionally trust a guy who can crap out The Sin Eater.