Pitt no longer in 'Play'

Universal may sue actor


Brad Pitt has pulled out of Universal's political thriller "State of Play" because of script concerns.

The move comes after a couple of weeks of meetings between Pitt and director Kevin MacDonald in an attempt to iron out the concerns. The script cannot be worked on due to the writers strike.

Universal is on the fast track to replace the star. Sources said the studio is looking at Johnny Depp, whose own movie "Shantaram" just got postponed at Warner Bros., as well as Russell Crowe.

Pitt was set to star with Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman and Robin Wright Penn in the Matthew Michael Carnahan-scripted adaptation of the British miniseries. He was playing a political consultant-turned-journalist who heads a newspaper's murder investigation involving a fast-rising politician (Norton).

Sources said the studio is mulling its legal options and might sue the actor.

Universal confirmed Pitt's departure in a statement: "Brad Pitt has left the Universal Pictures production of 'State of Play.' We remain committed to this project and to the filmmakers, cast members, crew and others who are also involved in making the movie. We reserve all rights in this matter."