Posted on Sunday, October 21st, 2007 by Peter Sciretta
Last week The New York Observer broke the news that Universal Studios had backed out of Robert Rodriguez’s big screen big-budget remake of Barbarella because Robert was unable to budge on the casting choice of his new fiance, Rose McGowan. Of course, McGowan isn’t a big enough star to carry a “$100 million film.”
“It’s sort of embarrassing for everyone involved,” Observer’s source said. “No one thinks Rose can carry the movie, but Robert won’t listen.”
Our friends at IESB talked to Robert, who of course denies that the production trouble had anything to do with casting. Rodriguez claims that it had to do with the skyrocketing budget, which is currently around 82 million. According to the Sin City director, Universal wanted to do the film for around $60 million.
Reporting on Hollywood has made me learn how to read between the lines of Hollywood speak lies. I’m guessing that Universal was more than willing to do Barbarella for $80+ million if there were a big name star attached, and Rodriguez is hoping that the studio may budge if he can bring down the budget. And Rodriguez is great with cutting corners and getting the maximum value out of the littlest money. So I don’t doubt that he wouldn’t be able to bring in the film for much cheaper. But the real question is, will Universal greenlight a McGowan-led Barbarella for $60 million? I’m not too sure, even that price tag is a bit high, and the studio wants a reasonable guarantee that they will make a return on their investment.
Honestly, I hope that Universal does not greenlight this project. Barbarella is a film that doesn’t need to be remade. Rodriguez is a tremendous talent, and his efforts could be better spend elsewhere, on a better project. I also don’t think that this generation with latch on to a Barbarella remake, and that the concept is pretty much failed in marketing conception. And with Rose in the lead, it doesn’t make the marketing department’s job any easier.