The New World and Che: According to Variety, director Terrence Malick has abruptly walked off the biopic of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara and instead committed to direct The New World, a New Line drama about Pocahontas and the cultural collision of European explorers and Native American tribes.

Colin Farrell has committed to play the explorer John Smith in the project, which has set a July production start date in Virginia.

Malick will shelve Che, a film that was mobilizing for a July start in Bolivia with Benicio Del Toro set as the title character and Franka Potente, Javier Bardem, Benjamin Bratt and Ryan Gosling ready to play his lieutenants. Malick, who co-wrote the Che script with Del Toro and Ben Vanderveen, has told the film's producers and financiers that he intends to return and direct Che in July 2005.

Though the turnabout was a major blow to the Che contingent, Malick had made no secret of the fact that he might make the other project, which he wrote. In fact, he made it clear that he would direct The New World to fully set its financing.

Things changed abruptly in the last two weeks. Farrell, back from playing Alexander the Great for director Oliver Stone, committed to The New World.