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Can Angelina Jolie get saltier?

August 13, 2010 | 11:02 am

   Jolie

Filmgoers who saw "Salt" well know how its ending was left open wider than Red Square. But will Sony drive through with a sequel?

The stars and principals that need to align have, at least, begun to come together.

Writer Kurt Wimmer has ideas for how to advance the story of the spy thriller, in which Evelyn Salt is a Russian plant in the highest echelons of the CIA who may or may not be working for her home country.

Director Phillip Noyce, for his part, is said to be interested in returning for a new installment. Scheduling and preferences would need to be worked out, however: Though the filmmaker doesn't officially have a new movie, he is involved with several high-priority development projects.

They include "Wenceslas Square," the indie thriller that was set to shoot in Serbia as early as this summer but has gotten hung up on casting issues as producers seek a big-name star. Noyce is also interested in directing Russell Crowe in the Australian love story "Dirt Music," which has long been a passion project for the director, though without financing yet, no one's moving on that one. And there's another romance film in the offing that would reunite Noyce with "Salt" producer Sunil Perkash.

Angelina Jolie had said that she's keen to work on a sequel; she has the Tim Burton film "Maleficent" and the big-franchise dreams of Kay Scarpetta waiting in the wings, but no commitment to a new movie now that she's finished Spyglass spy movie "The Tourist."

"Salt" producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and, in particular, Sony remain a question, however. The line the studio has put out to insiders in Hollywood is that the the company wants to see how the film performs in key international territories -- over the coming weeks it opens in the U.K., Germany and numerous South American countries -- before deciding whether to move forward. The movie has performed reasonably well in the U.S., earning $96 million thus far, but the production cost $110 million, with marketing costs running along the usual lines for a star-driven action picture. And sequels tend to get pricier.

Then again, Sony has done the heavy lifting, launching an original script and an unknown title in a climate inhospitable to them. Now comes the easy part. Well, comparatively speaking.

--Steven Zeitchik

http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Angelina Jolie in 'Salt.' Credit: Sony Pictures

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