EXCLUSIVE: Two months after star Daniel Craig unexpectedly dropped out of the project just days before filming was set to begin, Courtney Hunt’s courtroom drama The Whole Truth has reset with Keanu Reeves in the lead. Sources close to the project tell me Reeves will now play the role of a defense attorney who fights to get his teenage client acquitted of murdering his wealthy father. Previously cast Renee Zellweger, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle), and Gabriel Basso (Super 8, Kings of Summer) are still in place opposite Reeves in what will mark Hunt’s follow-up to her Oscar-nominated debut Frozen River, directing from a script by Nicholas Kazan.
The casting shake-up left production scrambling in April when Craig, coming off a two-month stint in Betrayal on Broadway ahead of his commitment to the upcoming 24th James Bond pic, departed four days before filming. Now pre-production is back on for a July shoot in New Orleans to begin right after the Independence Day holiday weekend, with a slightly different line-up. Original producers Richard Suckle and Charles Roven are now exec producers on the project, while Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman and PalmStar Entertainment’s Kevin Frakes are the sole producers. PalmStar is financing the picture. Bregman and Frakes just wrapped American Ultra together and both have previously worked with Reeves, on 2005′s Thumbsucker which Bregman produced and Reeves’ upcoming actioner John Wick which Frakes is executive producer on.
The production reboot and move to New Orleans from an original Boston shoot has also led to a story tweak, with Reeves now playing a Southern lawyer instead of a Boston-based one. FilmNation is still handling international sales with CAA repping domestic. Reeves is repped by CAA and 3 Arts Entertainment. WME reps Hunt. Zellweger is repped by CAA and John Carrabino Management. Mbatha-Raw is repped by CAA and Authentic Talent and Literary Management. Basso is repped by ICM Partners and Industry Entertainment.