Pitt's in no state to 'Play'

Actor cites script issues with film

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 actor's concerns. The script can't be worked on because of the writers strike.

Universal is on the fast track to replace Pitt, and sources said the studio is looking at Johnny Depp, whose "Shantaram" recently was 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. Pitt was to play a political consultant-turned-journalist who heads a newspaper's murder investigation that involves a fast-rising politician (Norton).

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

In a statement, Universal confirmed Pitt's departure: "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."