Universal Pictures is trying to get Russell Crowe to replace Brad Pitt on the set of their upcoming drama State of Play. According to Variety, Pitt left because he was not happy with the shooting script.

The studio won't know until later in the week whether or not Crowe has accepted their offer. Pitt's departure last Wednesday put the film, scheduled to start shooting November 15th, on hold. There is a differing opinion on the cause of the exit. Universal claims that Pitt left a pay-or-play commitment and that they have the option of suing the actor. Pitt's people claim that the actor was forced to leave the project because the studio wouldn't wait for a writers' strike resolution in order to fix script problems.

Other films affected by the ongoing strike include Angels and Demons, Shantaram and Pinkville. All have been postponed. Universal is hoping to avoid that circumstance with State of Play.

Crowe will have to fit the film into his immediate schedule, which looks very tight. He begins shooting the Ridley Scott Robin Hood riff Nottingham this March. So the actor does have three months free. He must accept the offer now to keep the other actors already signed to the film in place.

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B. Alan Orange