Oooh, I think it can be (via Coming Soon):
Warner Bros. Pictures has acquired the rights to sci-fi book The Sparrow for Brad Pitt's Plan B and Industry Entertainment to produce, reports Variety. Pitt has a longtime interest in the project, a potential starring vehicle for him.A little backstory here: The Sparrow originally came out in 1997 and quickly became one of my very favorite books, Sci-Fi or otherwise. They soon started talking about a movie version when Antonio Banderas bought the rights. The author, on her website, actually invited people to send in casting suggestions for the characters. I did so, and I immediately received a reply from the author chatting about what I had written. Very cool.
Screenwriter Michael Seitzman (North Country) is adapting Mary Doria Russell's debut novel of the same name. The project was originally set up at Universal, but Warners picked up the rights to the book after Universal let them lapse.
The story revolves around a Jesuit priest who accompanies a crew of space travelers to a distant planet after Earth receives its first communication from an alien culture. The clergyman and crew befriend one of the planet's two races, unwittingly provoking a bloody war and shaking the foundations of the priest's faith.
But the years passed, Antonio went on and did other things and now ... it's come to this. I went back to see what was on Russell's website and found an update from her. She mostly discusses the script, which I suppose is understandable, and how the most important portions of the plot will hopefully be retained from the book. She doesn't mention anything about Pitt.
When I first emailed her years ago, I recommended a lesser known actor named Alfred Molina to play Emilio Sandoz. Now, after his turn as Doc Ock in Spiderman 2, Molina would be an even stronger choice for the role. I also conceded that, though Banderas wasn't exactly how the character was described, he could probably pull it off just fine.
But now it's neither Alfred nor Antonio. It's Brad. Brad Pitt.
Nothing is set in stone, of course, and his main involvement right now is through his production company, but this news really disturbs me. Pitt playing a Puerto Rican Jesuit priest simply doesn't cut it. Of course, Emilio in the book is just charismatic as all hell, and that's no doubt what they'll focus on if Pitt is chosen. But his star power is not enough to pull it through.
Let me put it this way, Brad. Charlton Heston wasn't able to pull of a Hispanic character. Neither, for my money, did Marlon Brando. Don't make the same mistake. Go ask Antonio or Alfred or even a TV star like Jimmy Smits (who is, whadayaknow, half Puerto Rican!) to play Emilio. Be content in your role as producer and leave it at that.
If you do that, then I promise to pay full price to see Oceans 13 (now that's a sacrifice).