Josiah's Canon: According to Variety, Sean Connery has abruptly withdrawn from Fox's Josiah's Canon.

Connery's payday for the pic was slated to be $17.5 million.

The studio and filmmaker have already begun the process of trying to replace Connery so they can keep the film on track; pic has been in development for some time and was ready to begin shooting in Prague in February with Brett Ratner directing.

As for the bigger picture, Connery's departure has stirred talk that he may retire from acting at age 74.

The official line from a Connery spokesman is that the thesp withdrew from Josiah's Canon because he decided to give his full attention to writing his memoirs. Connery made a seven-figure deal last July to write his autobiography for HarperCollins U.K., and sources confirm he has dived into the process over the past few weeks.

But the withdrawal apparently goes deeper than that.

Connery's salary is among Hollywood's highest, but the headaches of mega-budget studio films have completely sapped his enthusiasm. The capper was an awful experience he had lensing his last film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, during which he clashed loudly with director Stephen Norrington.