Russell Crowe makes "Play" for troubled thriller

Mon Dec 3, 2007 11:45pm EST
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By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Russell Crowe will replace Brad Pitt in "State of Play," saving the political thriller from shutting down.

Pitt pulled out of the Universal Pictures movie two weeks ago, citing script concerns. That put him at loggerheads with the studio, which raised the possibility of taking legal action against him. With a blue-ribbon cast including Edward Norton and Helen Mirren already in place, it was adamant about proceeding with Matthew Michael Carnahan's script.

Director Kevin Macdonald recently flew to Australia to woo Crowe, who is scheduled to shoot Universal's "Nottingham," the Ridley Scott-directed reimagining of the Robin Hood story, in March. "Play" will begin production this month, which will give the actor enough time to venture to Sherwood Forest.

In "Play," Crowe will play a political consultant-turned-journalist who heads a newspaper's murder investigation involving a fast-rising politician (Norton). Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman and Robin Wright Penn also star in the adaptation of the British miniseries.

Crowe is currently in theaters with Universal's "American Gangster," which has grossed more than $120 million domestically to date.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>Russell Crowe poses at the Los Angeles premiere of his new film "American Gangster" in Hollywood, California October 29, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>