Megan Ellison in Talks to Rescue Leonardo DiCaprio's 'The Revenant' (Exclusive)
With the fate of Leonardo DiCaprio's upcoming project The Revenant hanging in the balance, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that producer Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures is negotiating to come aboard as financial backer.
The move comes as New Regency, the project's principal backer, attempts to replace financing that was to have come from Worldview Entertainment, which has pulled back on film financing lately in the wake of CEO Christopher Woodrow's June exit amid claims of personal misconduct.
The film, to be directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) and co-starring Tom Hardy and Will Poulter, is a harrowing survival story set in the early 19th century, based on the experiences of fur trapper Hugh Glass. Inarritu and Mark L. Smith wrote a screenplay based on Michael Punke's 2002 novel, The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge.
New Regency is said to have approached Fox unsuccessfully for financial backing. The company would have been on the hook for a big chunk of the budget if the movie fell apart because Hardy's deal is pay-or-play, according to sources, and DiCaprio's deal is all but pay-or-play.
In addition, sources say Inarritu, whose Birdman (also for New Regency) will open the Venice Film Festival in September, has been at odds with producers over the budget of the new film, which is aiming to begin shooting in September. Inarritu's desire to shoot The Revenant in sequence would add $7 million to the cost, according to a knowledgeable source.
"Alejandro has been threatening to walk off, but Alejandro will get his way, and everything will be fine," the source said.