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Russell Crowe signs on to ''State of Play''

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Russell Crowe has committed to replace Brad Pitt as the star of Universal’s State of Play, which is being directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland). As previously reported, Universal sought Crowe for the role after Pitt abruptly left the project over a script dispute. Crowe joins Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman, and Robin Wright Penn in the drama about a politico-turned-journalist (Crowe) who is reporting on a killing that leads to a fast-rising politican (Norton). Along the way, the journalist develops a romance with the pol’s estranged wife (Wright Penn). Shooting should start this month. Crowe is set to start work in March on Universal’s Robin Hood revision Nottingham, which reunites Imagine’s Brian Grazer and director Ridley Scott, the team behind American Gangster. (Variety)