Rift Between Clooney and Pitt

4/4/2006 3:33 PM PDT

Rift Between Clooney and Pitt

April 4, 2006 12:10PM ET
A Las Vegas business fiasco is causing trouble in a Hollywood A-list relationship, but this time it doesn't involve strippers or gambling.

We're told George Clooney is steamed that longtime pal Brad Pitt first backed out of a plan to join him in building a posh Las Vegas resort, only to turn around and set his sights on building a similar resort in Palm Springs.

The 'Ocean's Eleven' co-stars were investors in Las Ramblas, a $3 billion, 11-building complex off the Las Vegas Strip. But Pitt soon soured on the deal, leaving Clooney to partner with Cindy Crawford's club-owning husband, Rande Gerber.

"After Pitt left Clooney at the altar on the Vegas deal, it lost its steam and now the word around Vegas is that Las Ramblas is on its last legs," a Vegas insider tells TMZ. "So the idea that Brad's going to build his own hotel without George's help is quite the eye-opener."

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Pitt has jetted to Germany twice recently to meet with a trio of award-winning architects he's hired to draw up plans for the as-yet unnamed, $60 million futuristic resort, WENN reports. Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Review-Journal says that Las Ramblas is on the verge of being sold to a new developer -- a report that a Las Ramblas spokesman has since denied.

"Clooney wants to run an old-school, black-tie formal resort in Las Vegas that harkens back to the Sinatra era, but Brad's more about being hip and more Hollywood-oriented, so that's the direction he's going with the plans in Palm Springs," the source says. "Industry types in Vegas always smirked at Clooney's plans, but Pitt's plan to tap into the young market makes more sense to them.

"The business deals gone bad will make for some cold shoulders on the set of 'Ocean's Thirteen,'" notes the source. The latest installment in the heist film series is slated to begin filming in Las Vegas in July.

Update: 2:10PM ET -- Stan Rosenfield, George Clooney's rep, tells TMZ "Brad Pitt was never committed" to the Las Ramblas project and called allegations that he backed out of the deal an "out and out fabrication." He also adds that any implication of "cold shoulders" on the set of the upcoming 'Ocean's Thirteen' are not true, and stressed that all the stars are committed to the project.