Mark Romanek Exits Disney's 'Cinderella' Update

Mark Romanek

Darkness has struck at the heart of a Mark Romanek project once more: The director, who famously lost his grip on Universal's Wolfman reboot a few years ago for having an excessively dark take on the story, has departed Disney's upcoming live-action Cinderella project for exactly the same reason.

"The Walt Disney Studios and Mark Romanek have parted ways on Disney’s Cinderella project," explained the studio in a statement. "We are committed to moving the project forward and have begun the search for a new director. The team here at Disney respects Mark as both a director and a friend, and we hope to find something to work on together in the future."

As Deadline points out, Romanek didn't really suffer from losing The Wolfman, which ended up being a critical and commercial dud -- thanks in no small part to a muddled (but not terribly "dark") approach that reflected no small amount of confusion regarding what to do with the character. Given Disney's strong track record of late, it seems unlikely that Cinderella is spinning out of control as badly as Wolfman did -- but on the other hand, when you hire the guy who directed One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go to give you a fresh take on a fairly grim and grisly fairytale, you kind of have to expect darkness, no?

No word yet on Romanek's next move, but Disney has its work cut out for itself -- with leading lady Cate Blanchett already attached to play Cinderella's wicked stepmother, the clock is ticking on their search for a new director (not to mention someone who can play the title role).

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Jeff is an entertainment writer and editor whose work currently appears at a variety of sites, including Rotten Tomatoes, Paste, American Songwriter, Popdose, Dadnabbit, Diffuser, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

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