Originally announced in January 2011, the remake of A Star Is Born is facing another major setback. Today, Beyonce Knowles dropped out of the starring role in the high-profile remake, which has Clint Eastwood attached to direct. Production was initially delayed after Knowles’ pregnancy and after the studio failed to cast a high-profile male lead. Tom Cruise, Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper were all attached to star at some point, but these rumors never materialized into full commitments. And today, Collider confirmed that Knowles has officially exited the project due to scheduling conflicts.
In spite of losing their lead, Eastwood is already eyeing a replacement. Variety is reporting that the Academy Award-winner director is circling Grammy-winning jazz singer Esperanza Spalding to take over the role. Having won Best New Artist in 2011, the 27-year-old singer has no acting experience. But the report also notes that casting the male lead is now the studio’s top priority, so confirming a new lead actress may fall by the wayside.
Originally released in 1937, the first iteration of A Star Is Born was produced by the legendary David O. Selznick and starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. The story centers around a North Dakota farm girl who dreams of making it big in Hollywood with the aid of an alcoholic actor who is past his prime. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning one of Best Story. It has since been remade twice, once in 1954 with Judy Garland and James Mason, and again in 1976 with Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. Both were nominated for multiple Oscars each, but their stories deviate from the original in turning the female lead into an aspirant singer and actress. Eastwood’s remake would likely follow suit with the interest in Knowles and Spalding.
However, this latest remake may focus more on the fading male star. Screenwriter Will Fetters confirmed that this latest adaptation is inspired by the life and death of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain. Combined with Warner Bros.’ prioritizing the casting of the male lead, this film can expect to garner as much attention for Best Actor awards as it will for Best Actress.