Four years ago, when Steven Soderbergh was just beginning to entertain the idea of breaking the world record for most film projects completed in the time between announcing his imminent retirement and actually hitting the beach with a metal detector, one of his wildest pipe dreams was Cleo, a rock musical, in 3D, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones as Cleopatra, Hugh Jackman as Marc Antony, and Ray Winstone as Julius Caesar, with music from Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard. (Former GBV bassist, novelist, and onetime Spin senior editor Jim Greer wrote the screenplay.) The project appeared to collapse when Jackman bailed in 2009, but some of the principals have never stopped talking about it. Last Friday, Zeta-Jones—who stars in Soderbergh’s forthcoming The Bitter Pill and who won a Tony for her performance in the 2009 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music—told The View that she still believes in the project and that she and Soderbergh “think it would just be fantastic on Broadway.” Whether by design or coincidence, this seems to echo comments Soderbergh made to Indiewire earlier this year, about how much he loves Greer’s script and how he’s “thought about taking that to the stage. It could still live somewhere like that.” It’s an intriguing idea, perhaps made more so by recent hints that Broadway may be a more nurturing environment for rock musicals than Hollywood, even if Catherine Zeta-Jones is involved.
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