Harvey Weinstein Goes Up Against Steven Spielberg With Competing Edgardo Mortara Movie

Harvey Weinstein Goes Up Against Steven Spielberg With Competing Edgardo Mortara Movie

Sep 14, 2016

The latest dueling biopics are about Edgardo Mortara. If you don't know the name now, you will in about a year or so. Earlier this year, we learned Steven Spielberg plans to direct The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara after Ready Player One and before Indiana Jones 5. Now comes the announcement, via The Hollywood Reporter, that Harvey Weinstein is producing his own movie on Mortara, who at 6 years old was taken from his Jewish parents by papal authorities and raised Catholic. The true story is set in Bologna, Italy, in 1858.

Apparently Spielberg and Weinstein were working together on the same project, but they parted ways. What's not clear is how two separate, unrelated movies are seemingly based on the same nonfiction novel, David Kertzer's 1997 book The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. One of them may wind up merely inspired by the book and going with the historical records only instead. THR also hints they could take place at different points in Mortara's life, which would the later-set one almost like a sequel to the other.  

Weinstein, who has set Baltasar Kormakur (Everest) to direct, is going with Robert De Niro for the role of Pope Pius IX. Spielberg' s version has his new regular actor Mark Rylance in the part. Weinstein's version will be scripted by Jeremy Brock (The Last King of Scotland), compared to Spielberg working from a screenplay by his occasional collaborator Tony Kushner (MunichLincoln). Weinstein's version is scheduled to begin production in January, with Spielberg's following in the Spring.

There's a chance Spielberg's film could still be the first into theaters since he's planning for a very quick turnaround in time for 2017 awards season, but Weinstein is also quite the awards hound, so who knows? Either way, this is an odd story for there to be competing movies about given that Mortara is not a huge historical figure like Christopher Columbus or even Truman Capote. Start placing your bets on which will cross the finish line, first. 

 

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