EXCLUSIVE: Tommy Lee Jones is in final talks to star with Brad Pitt in Ad Astra, the working title of the futuristic sci-fi epic that James Gray co-wrote and will direct for New Regency. Production begins in September. Details are being kept close to the vest, but here’s what I’ve heard: In Ad Astra (which means “to the stars” in Latin), Pitt would play the slightly autistic space engineer Roy McBride. Twenty years after his father left on a one-way mission to Neptune in order to find signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence, McBride travels through the solar system to find him and understand why his mission failed.
I’ve heard Jones will play the father, and that the film has a bit of Heart Of Darkness vibe, set in deep space. Pitt firmed in the starring role last February as the World War Z sequel with his Fight Club director David Fincher took longer than expected and Paramount pulled it off the release calendar. Pitt produced and was originally expected to star in Gray’s lauded The Lost City Of Z, which premiered at the New York Film Festival and was released by Amazon Studios. Pitt was also once attached to Gray’s The Gray Man. Third time’s the charm, and Pitt now has one of the great actors working alongside him in Jones, who most recently completed the Rob Reiner-directed Shock And Awe and the Ron Shelton-directed Villa Capri.
Gray wrote the script with Ethan Gross, and RT Features financed development. Plan B is producing with Gray, RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira, Keep Your Head Productions’ Anthony Katagas and Mad River’s Marc Butan. RT Features’ Lourenco Sant’Anna and Sophie Mas are exec producing.
Jones is repped by CAA, and attorneys Bill Jacobson and Stephen Golden.