Brad Pitt has put the skids on his new racing drama after a change in sponsorship deals following the writer’s strike resulted in the actor scrapping hours of previously recorded footage.
The Oscar-winning actor has been shooting an untitled project with director Joseph Kosinski, in which he plays a veteran Formula One ace who comes out of retirement to train an up-and-coming driver.
Pitt, 59, and his production team had recorded hours of footage on location during the first half of the F1 season, with the actor filmed driving a Formula Two car with an added Formula One aero-package at the Silverstone Circuit in July.
But the subsequent 118 day actor’s strike, which affected almost two million industry jobs before it ended in November, put the brakes on any further location work.
The delay ad subsequent agreement between the SAG-AFTRA union and film studios has since resulted in a change to sponsorship deals – rendering any pre-recorded film unusable.
Consequently, Pitt – who is co-producing the film with Jerry Bruckheimer and Formula One star Lewis Hamilton – has since been forced to scrap tens of millions of pounds worth of valuable footage.
A source told The Sun: ‘It really is a nightmare for Brad and the team. A lot of events had been earmarked for filming throughout the year which would have helped reduce costs rather than having to recreate high-speed moments and wide shots.
‘However, with all the sponsors changing it now makes the footage defunct. It’s gutting for Brad and Lewis who see this project as their baby.
‘Apple Studios, who are helping make the film, are far from impressed but at the end of the day, there isn’t a lot they can do.’
Pitt and his team had been working in Hungary before the SAG-AFTRA strikes, but wanted to show solidarity with picketing actors despite the European country falling outside the jurisdiction of the Hollywood actors’ union.
‘Brad agreed that they would finish shoots booked in but has postponed planned production over the next two months,’ a source said at the time.
‘Postponing the production was a massive call, especially financially, but Brad has listened to the concerns of the people he works with and wants to show his support.’
The source added: ‘The cast and crew of Apex have been filming in Budapest but Brad has called for the future dates to be put back, in solidarity with everyone striking.’
Pitt had been getting up to speed in Formula Two machinery for two months – first at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France and then at Silverstone.
The Fight Club star will play veteran driver Sonny Hayes, who has come out of retirement to compete alongside young rookie Joshua Pearce, played by Damson Idris, and against the sport’s biggest titans.
Spanish star Javier Bardem is also expected to feature as Sonny’s APXGP team principal, while Lewis Hamilton is billed to play a part in the film – presumably as himself.
Hamilton recently spoke about the film, saying: ‘There are nerves because it is something we’ve been working on for so long.
‘We want everyone to love it and to really feel that we encapsulate what the essence of this sport is all about.’
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