Date: 18th October 2000

Talks Fail Over Muhammad Ali Film

LATEST: Talks between director MICHAEL MANN and executives at COLUMBIA pictures have failed in an effort to breathe life into the currently postponed film about boxing legend MUHAMMAD ALI.

The planned film would star WILL SMITH as Ali but, according to DAILY VARIETY, the picture hit a snag when Mann could not guarantee that the film would be produced for the agreed-upon price tag of $105 million. Studio executives reportedly don't think Mann can control his costs on the project.

According to the LOS ANGELES TIMES, the 57- year-old director initially signed on to make the film for $105 million, but he reportedly failed to convince studio heads that he could pull it off without going at least $10 million over. Mann, meanwhile, is angered that Columbia gave the go-ahead on the film, and now is threatening to withdraw it.

In meetings with the studio, the director reportedly offered to cut some expensive locations, and Mann, Smith and producer JON PETERS have all agreed to take "substantial cuts" in their upfront fees, the Times reports. But if the studio doesn't budge, Mann may be forced to shop it elsewhere.

A source says, "We've done everything we can to try to make this work. There was a definite agreement from the get-go on what the price was and that changed." (RGS/WNWCAN&WNWCE)

Source: WENN