Denis Villeneuve in Talks to Direct Sony's Cleopatra Movie

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Denis Villeneuve

The long-gestating project is one step closer to production.

Sony's long-embattled Cleopatra movie looks like it could be back on track with the addition of Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve.

The Arrival helmer is in talks to direct the project from producers Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal via their Scott Rudin Productions and Pascal Pictures banner.  

The movie is based on the Stacy Schiff best-selling book Cleopatra: A Life, which paints the Egyptian ruler as a shrewd negotiator and powerful female figure that shaped human history in her short life. David Scarpa (The Day the Earth Stood Still) penned the screenplay.

Sony's Cleopatra was one of the projects that was maligned by the 2014 hacking, where in a leaked email Rudin called then-rumored star Angelina Jolie "out of her mind" about the movie. In an interview with The New York Times, the actress said that she was aware of the emails but chose not to read them.  

Multiple big-name directors have been attached, at one time or another, to helm the historical epic, including Ang Lee, David Fincher and James Cameron. Villeneuve, who gained the industry's attention with the smaller crime dramas Sicario and Prisoners, has proven that he isn't afraid to take on high-concept, high-stakes projects.

After a best picture Oscar nomination for his heady alien-invasion story Arrival, the Canadian filmmaker is jumping from one sci-fi universe to the next. His Blade Runner 2049 is set for release next week, and he is attached to helm Legendary's long-gestating Dune remake. He is also among the directors shortlisted for the next James Bond movie, along with Yann Demange.

Villeneuve is repped by CAA and Canada's Claude Girard.

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