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Zoe Saldana Says ‘Hell or High Water’ with Novel Purchase; Fox Buy Script for Roman Epic

Written by on December 7, 2012 

When she isn’t trekking into darkness or (that one time) flying around Pandora, Zoe Saldana has angled toward more “serious” projects. Sure, The Words was a huge flop and didn’t have much to say for itself with the critics, but next up is a biopic of the legendary Nina Simone, complete with singing and all that. It’s the kind of move that “lets them know you’re dedicated,” admittedly, but I think we’re talking about an actress who’s shown real talent by now — even with some clunky James Cameron dialogue coming out.

Next for her, according to Deadline, is Hell or High Water, a page-to-screen adaptation that she’ll produce with her sister, Cisley, via their Saldana Productions; Spellbound Entertainment and Jane Startz Productions are also tagging along. Their effort is funneled toward a film centered on Nola Céspedes, a reporter for New Orleans’ Times-Picayune newspaper assigned to write her first-ever full-length work, but that brings her to learn of a tourist missing in the French Quarter. Things spiral from thereon out, as events take the character into a criminal underworld with direct ties to Hurricane Katrina.

The team are still deciding whether Hell or High Water will make its way toward theater or TV screens — if it’s the former, I’d expect Saldana to star.

Next up, Deadline inform us that Fox have bought Arminius, a screenplay from newcomer Frank Moll. Their report position the film as an attempt to capture some of that (seventeen-year-old) Braveheart magic, though a description had me leaning more toward Gladiator — but who’s counting. The story centers on the historical figure himself, Arminius, a German-born warrior who dropped an instilled Roman allegiance when they attempted to conquer Germania. In doing so, he became leader of “disparate Germanic tribes and rally them to victory against the Roman Army in the bloody Battle of the Teutoburg Forest,” an event which proved to be Caesar’s greatest defeat.

A good sword and sandal epic is all I ask, Fox. Make that happen.

Based on what’s been established, do you think either film have a chance of succeeding?

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