It probably goes without saying that not all filmmakers are cut out to direct big budget studio blockbusters. There are certain well-respected directors who have been given these kinds of opportunities only to have the projects inevitably fall apart because of their unwillingness to compromise… and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Darren Aronofsky is one of the most obvious examples, having walked away from both Batman and Wolverine movies. Now I think we can safely add Mark Romanek to the list as well, who once dropped out of The Wolfman remake due to creative differences, and now this week has parted ways with Disney and their live action retelling of Cinderella. Here’s what Disney had to say about his departure:
“The Walt Disney Studios and Mark Romanek have parted ways on Disney’s Cinderella project. We are committed to moving the project forward and have begun the search for a new director. The team here at Disney respects Mark as both a director and a friend, and we hope to find something to work on together in the future.”
Word on the street is that Romanek was pushing for a much darker version of this story, and it’s not hard to see how that would be a problem for Disney. To be honest, I was pretty surprised that he signed on in the first place considering that he’s been very picky with his projects in the past (there was an eight year gap between One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go). Still, I suppose it’s comparable to Tarsem being handed Mirror Mirror and Sam Raimi taking on Oz: The Great and Powerful. There has been no mention of who might replace him, but they’ll need to find a new director in a hurry since it’s supposed to go into production this summer.
The good news is that the cast sounds somewhat promising with Cate Blanchett attached to play the evil stepmother and Saoirse Ronan being rumoured as a possibility for the lead role. Unfortunately, unless they can find another director on the same level as Romanek, I’m not sure I can muster up much enthusiasm for yet another live-action adaptation of a fairy tale. Are you disappointed that Mark Romanek has left the project or does this free him up to do something more interesting? Who else should direct Cinderella?