Fox Scraps Christian Bale's 'Deep Blue Goodbye' Due to Knee Injury (Exclusive)

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Christian Bale

The project was to team Bale with director James Mangold on the thriller.

Fox has put Deep Blue Goodbye, its adaptation of the John D. MacDonald mystery-adventure book series that was to have starred Christian Bale, in dry dock.

Bale, who was to have starred in the project as a freewheeling ex-soldier living on a house boat and acting as a self-proclaimed "salvage consultant,” tore his ACL just before his shoot for Paramount’s financial drama The Big Short. But the knee ligament injury will prevent him from filming Goodbye, which was to have been a far more physically intensive shoot. The climax, for example, was an intense action sequence on boats.

James Mangold was set to direct the thriller, which also had Peter Dinklage and Nicola Peltz on board to co-star. The planned May start of production in Florida and Puerto Rico has been deep-sixed.

The fate of Goodbye is unclear. While some say the project is dead, other sources believe the movie could be postponed rather than totally scrubbed. But if it is delayed, Fox might need to find a new star. Bale remains one of the most in-demand actors in the industry, with several projects scheduled for the next year. Teaming him with Mangold and the same players will not be easy. Mangold, who directed The Wolverine for Fox, also could end up on Wolverine 3 earlier than expected for the studio.

The Deep Blue Goodbye project has been in development since the late 1990s, with Oliver Stone and Paul Greengrass among those slated to direct. Leonardo DiCaprio was at one point set to star and is one of the producers. With years of development invested, Fox is not likely to bid adieu to Goodbye for good.

Sources say the studio and producers at Chernin Entertainment as well as Appian Way tried to salvage the project by quickly finding another lead. Brad Pitt was among those approached but could not do it, thus leading to the painful decision to cut bait.