One of the reasons Wanted made nearly $350 million worldwide in 2008 was due to the presence of Angelina Jolie, so Universal were keen to have her in the sequel (even though she shot herself in the head at the end of the film). Director Timur Bekmambetov said last August that he had written her character into the sequel and recent reports hinted that Jolie would be returning (Mark Miller mentioned the script was re-written to make a few people happy) however according to The Vulture Jolie has decided not to return, which has caused Universal to pull the plug on the sequel.
As for Jolie, we hear she is now intent on starring in Warner Bros.’ Gravity, a space thriller to be directed by Children of Men’s Alfonso Cuarón from a script he wrote with his 28-year-old son, Jonás.
Like Wanted 2, Gravity had previously been set up at Universal, with Jolie set to star. But a few weeks ago, the studio put Gravity into turnaround, possibly because it’s such an artistically challenging project: Jolie would be alone on-screen for much of the movie, playing the sole surviving human member of a space mission, desperately trying to return home to Earth and her daughter. (In that way it’s reminiscent of the brilliant, little-seen Moon with Sam Rockwell. Seriously, why won’t you see it?) Now Warners has snapped it up, and it will be produced by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows producer David Heyman and Legendary Pictures.
I think Universal could have still moved forward with Wanted 2, but I suppose their big star dropping out wasn’t ideal. It’s a shame for James McAvoy. This could have been his action franchise.
As for Gravity, i’m a big fan of Alfonso Cuarón after loving both Children of Men and Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban, and i’ve been waiting to see what his next big project would be. I suppose having Jolie on-screen for most of the film can’t be a bad thing, although I hope it’s not too similar to Moon.