Image Credit: Jon Furniss/WireImage.comBrad Pitt’s poor chin. The actor, who was reportedly growing this oft-ridiculed beard for his role as Col. Percy Fawcett in the adaptation of David Grann’s The Lost City of Z, has bowed out of starring in the picture, his rep confirms with EW. Pitt, who will continue to produce the picture with his production company, Plan B, was attached to topline the film, but had to drop out in order to film the zombie flick World War Z. (Despite reports, Pitt’s involvement in Cogan’s Trade has no bearing on the actor’s inability to star in Lost City of Z.) “Brad would have liked to do Lost City of Z,” his rep told EW. “Brad is passionate about [director] James Gray and producing this project and is committed to seeing Lost City of Z made this year.”

Well, shoot. This news — brought to you, apparently, by the letter Z — is disappointing, considering how 1) Pitt, a fine actor with experience in the outdoors, radiates the kind of stealth needed to play the explorer, who disappeared after trudging into the Amazon in hopes of locating a mysterious, hidden golden city, and 2) I can’t imagine that facial hair working for any other actor. (In fact, did Fawcett check the mysterious beard itself to see if that’s where Z has been hiding?) Since Pitt is out, however, let’s start brainstorming other possibilities. Christian Bale is always a good back-up, since the guy could convincingly play a carrot (not before the method actor plants himself in the dirt to get pecked by rabbits for several weeks, though), but reading Grann’s fascinating page-turner, I always pictured a more robust actor like Jeff Bridges, whose excitement is so contagious, you’d expect many less experienced poor souls to follow him into the Amazon. Or should it be a post-vacation Jon Stewart? Billy Gibbons? Who do you think should take over Pitt’s role as Col. Fawcett, PopWatchers?

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