The Fountain: According to Variety, two years after it supposedly ran dry, Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain is bubbling back to life, but with a decidedly leaner budget. This time, the pic will likely star Hugh Jackman instead of Brad Pitt.

Slated to go before cameras in fall 2002, pic was set to be a $75 million co-production between Warner Bros. Pictures and New Regency.

Originally, a bushy-bearded Pitt was to have had the lead role, but he stepped off the project in August 2002, displeased by a late-in-the-game rewrite of the script, co-written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel.

Project would now be budgeted between $35 million and $40 million.

Pitt's untimely exit was only the latest problem to bedevil "Fountain" at the time; it had already been unplugged once before, delayed for a year over co-star Cate Blanchett's pregnancy as well as plagued by repeated budget battles at the studio and a change in co-financier, from Village Roadshow to New Regency.

Aronofsky has been working diligently to shave costly set pieces from his script, which spanned 500 years at one point.

Little is known about the story. Originally it followed its main character on a psychological journey set in the present, but with a plotline reaching centuries into both the past and the future. Among the themes explored are love, death and immortality.

Stay tuned for more on this project...

Brian B.