Matt gives Christian the Pitts

By now you’ve probably heard about "Sahara", the first of several adventure hero movies Paramount is making, which has Matthew McConaughey playing the character of Dirk Pitt, first introduced in a series of books from author Clive Cussler. Funny thing is, McConaughey’s wanted in this part about as much as families demand flies at a picnic. Clive Cussler himself [the author of the book on which the film is based upon] wanted Aussie Hugh Jackman. Hey, I can see that. And director Rob Bowman, who was attached to the project for a while there, wanted his "Reign of Fire" star Christian Bale.

We’re informed that "[It's another of] Hollywood’s recent example of how money dictates casting. Paramount is hoping to launch a strong new franchise as there are a number of Dirk Pitt novels. Director, Rob Bowman, who was in talks to direct "Sahara" (his last movie was "Reign of Fire" which starred Christian Bale and McConaughey), wanted to cast Bale as Pitt. Paramount decided to cast someone with stronger box office. McConaughey has had a steady number of hits since "Reign of Fire" tanked last summmer ("Frailty", "How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days") while unfortunately Bale has yet to demonsrate box office presence and has had a recent couple of bombs ("Laurel Canyon")" .

Poor Christian Bale though. One of our insiders recently told me how he came this close to being cast as the new "Batman". But when Warner got wind of how much money his movies of recent times "haven’t" made – they dumped him like a rotten fish in a salty lake. And now he’s lost the role of Pitt. So where does Rob Bowman stand in all this? We’ll apparently now he is the one wearing the cranky boots, still peeved that they’ve given McConaughey the role over Bale. They’re [the trades] still saying he may direct the movie, but it’s pretty safe to say – we’re told – he isn’t going to touch it. Meanwhile, Christian Bale’s slumming it in the low-budget Indy film "The Machinist". Yes, you can imagine how excited he is.