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A couple of weeks ago, when we covered the possibility that Fox would kill Tony Scott‘s upcoming Unstoppable, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, Brendon speculated that we might see a final version of the film go into production that had stars attached but a slashed budget. Now it’s looking like we’ll see it, if at all, with a slashed budget and at least one star gone. Variety reports that Denzel Washington has backed away from the film.

As previously reported, money is the factor here. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, that other Denzel/Scott train movie, has only brought in about $60m so far on a $100m+ budget. So Fox is concerned, and understandably so. As it stands now, Unstoppable would be another $100m+ train movie. And while Chris Pine has heat coming off Star Trek, he won’t carry the film. Fox asked Denzel to shave a couple million off his $20m asking price and he’s reportedly refused. Likely because he knows that if anyone will carry the film, it’ll be him.

So what happens now? I’d like to see Scott make the movie for a lot less — get him to do a down and dirty thriller. But that’s not his style. He could walk, and put this back into development at Fox, which has been working on the film for a while. (Robert Schwentke and Martin Campbell were both attached at one point.) The plot is solid enough — a vet engineer works with a young conductor to stop a runaway train filled with toxins — that there’s definitely a solid thriller to be made.

In all of this, the trade reports that Denzel and Scott are still negotiating as they do European press for The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, and that he could end up in the film after all. But at this point, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

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