'Idol's Eye' Movie Canceled: Robert De Niro and Robert Pattinson Thriller
By Zac Gille
'Idol's Eye' production shut down: Robert De Niro, Robert Pattinson and Rachel Weisz to have starred in Olivier Assayas' action-thriller (photo: Robert Pattinson)
Production on screenwriter-director Olivier Assayas' action-thriller Idol's Eye, which was to have starred two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II, Raging Bull), Robert Pattinson (the Twilight movies, The Rover), and Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener), has been shut down, officially due to financing woes. Michael Benaroya's Beverly Hills-based Benaroya Pictures announced the bad news earlier today, November 3, 2014.
“Due to the criteria for financing not being met by producers, Benaroya Pictures has formally decided to discontinue financing the motion picture titled Idol's Eye. The company cannot continue to put its investment at risk and has been forced to stop cash flowing [to] the production.
“This is something all of us wanted to avoid, but due to the producers missing a number of financing criteria deadlines that were mutually established by all parties, we were left with no other options. Benaroya Pictures plans to retain the rights of the film and move forward with production on the picture after we generate a revised script and assemble a new filmmaking team.”
'Idol's Eye' producers
The statement by Benaroya Pictures doesn't specify which producers missed "a number of financing criteria deadlines." According to Variety, Idol's Eye was being "developed and produced" by Charles Gillibert, who had recently worked with Olivier Assayas on the Cannes Film Festival entry Clouds of Sils Maria, starring Juliette Binoche, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Robert Pattinson's Twilight Saga co-star Kristen Stewart.
Besides Gillibert's CG Cinéma and Benaroya Pictures, others involved in the production of Idol's Eye were reportedly Bluegrass Films' Scott Stuber, Film 360's Scott Lambert, and Alexandra Milchan. Production on the film had been initially slated to commence last October in Toronto and Chicago; following delays, as per Variety filming was just about to start in Toronto.
In the coming days, International Film Trust, a sales company co-founded by Benaroya, was to have attempted to sell foreign rights to Idol's Eye at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, California.
'Idol's Eye' plot
Set in Chicago's mob-ruled underworld, Idol's Eye is based on Hillel Levin's 2007 Playboy article "Boosting the Big Tuna," about a group of robbers brutally murdered after having burglarized the home of local mob boss Tony Accardo (aka "Big Tuna" and/or "Joe Batters") in 1978. Note: IMDb synopses of Idol's Eye have the burglars robbing a pawnshop serving as a front for the mob boss' business, while an online source has the robbers breaking into a porn store. (In real life, proving that crime does pay if you're powerful enough, Accardo was never sent to prison for the murders he had ordered. He died at age 86 in 1992.)
Although I could find no confirmation, in Idol's Eye Robert De Niro would likely have played Accardo (or a character based on him), while Robert Pattinson would have been cast as the leader of the gang of home or pawnshop or porn store robbers. And I'm not sure if there's any connection to the film, but throughout the '70s Chicago jeweler Harry Levinson owned the famed Idol's Eye diamond.
As an aside, it's unclear why Benaroya Pictures wants to revise the Idol's Eye screenplay before assembling "a new filmmaking team." Larry Richman has been tweeting about the Idol's Eye debacle, mixing speculation (about what may have happened) with facts about film production.
As found on the IMDb, besides Robert De Niro, Robert Pattinson, and Rachel Weisz, Idol's Eye was to have featured Ace Hicks, Bo Martyn, Salvatore Inzerillo, Shane Daly, Breeanna Booth, PJ Lazic, Jim Cantafio, Stephen Badalamenti, Egidio Tari, Anna Douglas, Paul James Saunders, and Luke Vitale.
Benaroya Pictures' movies
Benaroya Pictures' productions include the little-seen romantic comedy The Romantics, starring Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin, Josh Duhamel, and Adam Brody; J.C. Chandor's Oscar-nominated (Best Original Screenplay) drama Margin Call, with Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Zachary Quinto, and Kevin Spacey; and Lee Daniel's box-office misfire The Paperboy, with Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack, and Nicole Kidman.
More recently, Benaroya Pictures was involved in the production of John Krokidas' modest box-office performer Kill Your Darlings, with Daniel Radcliffe. It's also behind Werner Herzog's upcoming Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman, James Franco, and Idol's Eye would-be star Robert Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia.