EXCLUSIVE: Every hot young actress in Hollywood wants to play the lead in Sony Pictures’ The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. But will director David Fincher cast one of them — or go with an unknown? This is the studio’s next 3-film franchise based on Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy. It begins with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (there’s a very well-received Swedish version in theaters right now), and continues with The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. So what’s described to me as ”creme de la creme” of young actresses are calling Sony execs as well as producer Scott Rudin and asking if they “can come in for a meeting” about it.
Carey Mulligan, the Oscar nominee from The Education, actually phoned the pic’s writer Steve Zallian and took him to lunch. (Reminds me of that bad joke about the ambitious actress and the writer, but Zallian is also the exec producer.) Juno Oscar nominee Ellen Page wrote a heartfelt note to Rudin. (Her Hard Candy persona is perfect for the part.) Sony execs insist they’re “nowhere near casting”. But Mulligan, Page, Kristen Stewart, Mia Wasikowska, Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway, Olivia Thirlby, and Scarlett Johannsen are all circling.
The problem is that director David Fincher “is not … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Indian telecoms magnate BK Modi has thrown open the casting for the $40 million Indian epic he’s producing. Director Ashutosh Gowariker is looking for an unknown to play the 500BC Indian prince who became Buddha. Actors have until May 15th to submit to the Buddha-Movie website. “We felt that we needed a new face for our Buddha,” executive producer Michel Shane tells me.
Gowariker, who was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar for Lagaan (2001), plans to start shooting in India at the end of August. Modi is fully-financing Buddha through his Spice Studios. ICM has packaged the project and is handling international sales. Client David S Ward, screenwriter of The Sting, has penned the screenplay, based on Kyra Pahlen’s biography of Prince Siddartha, The Warrior Prince. The Dalai Lama is even credited as “consultant producer.”
Shane, executive producer of I, Robot and Catch Me If You Can, is pitching the project as “Gladiator meets Lawrence of Arabia.” He says it’s much more action adventure Little Buddha, Bernardo Bertolucci’s take on the same subject. I dunno. I’m sure these projects sound great on the celebrity Buddhist circuit, when you’re saying “namaste” to Richard Gere or Uma Thurman, but I just don’t know how much appeal they have in Des Moines.
Looks like Todd Phillips and Joel Silver were serious about their intention to populate their under-the-radar Warner Bros comedy Project X with a cast of unknowns. They’ve set up the website www.projectxopencall.com, looking for 18-ish actors to submit taped auditions for a raunchy $12 million budget comedy that will be helmed by British video/commercials director Nima Nourizadeh, with Phillips producing and Silver executive producer. As a director, Phillips has helped create stars with comedies like The Hangover, Old School and Road Trip, but there, he gave a showcase to established actors who needed a nudge. I will still be amazed if he and Silver have the stones to cast complete unknowns for the lead roles of a studio comedy. Phillips’ Green Hat Films and Silver Pictures execs have been developing a script last fall, written by Matt Drake from a treatment by Michael Bacall.
Todd Phillips, Joel Silver Plan To Tap Unknowns For Mystery Laugher For `Project X’
Broadway will be well represented on the musical front in 2011. Add Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which is casting up for a March opening, most likely at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on W. 46th Street. I’m told that West Side Story’s Matt Cavenaugh is in talks to play Adam/Felicia, the role played by Guy Pearce in the 1994 film, with Hair’s Will Swenson in talks to play Tick/Mitzy, the role played onscreen by Hugo Weaving. Tony Sheldon will play Bernadette, the role originated onscreen by Terence Stamp. The stage musical originated in Australia, with book by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott. Sheldon opened the show and will stay with the show until Broadway, as will director Simon Phillips. Add that to How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, with Daniel Radcliffe, and The Book Of Mormon, which Deadline New York told you about Tuesday. That is the Broadway musical debut of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who wrote the book and music with Avenue Q’s Bobby Lopez.
South Park Duo Hits 200th-And Broadway
The end of the Spider-Man franchise has created new opportunities for Kirsten Dunst. She’s just been set by Lars von Trier to play the lead role in Melancholia that Penelope Cruz was negotiating before she jumped to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Melancholia is a sci-fi disaster film that will shoot July through September in Southern Sweden, with Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, Alexander Skarsgaard, Stellan Skarsgaard and Udo Kier also attached to roles. Dunst is currently starring with Jim Sturgess in Upside Down. Bastard, the short film she directed and co-wrote, will premiere at the Tribeca Film Fest and was just accepted into Cannes.
Taylor Lautner, who usually pines for Kristen Stewart in the Twilight Saga films, has a new romantic screen interest. Lily Collins has landed the job playing Lautner’s love interest in Abduction, the John Singleton-directed Lionsgate thriller that starts production in 12 weeks on location in Pittsburgh. Collins, daughter of the legendary pop singer Phil Collins, made her movie debut playing the daughter of Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) in The Blind Side. In the Shawn Christensen-scripted Abduction, Collins will play the girlfriend of a young man who discovers the parents that raised him aren’t his. When he reaches out to the real ones, he and his girlfriend are forced to run for their lives. She just wrapped Priest with Paul Bettany.
If you don’t care that Reality TV has become Savage TV, then by all means show up for the CBS series Big Brother 8′s open casting call on Saturday at CBS Radford in Studio City from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. More are scheduled for Michigan, New York, Alabama, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, North Carolina, Utah, and Nebraska. This is an especially repulsive show, so much so that last summer’s episodes prompted me to write that Reality TV had gone wild because of its freak shows, freak accidents and freakin’ mayhem. The genre had marked a repugnant milestone when one of the Season 7 “All-Stars” contestants threatened violence against one of the female houseguests — and the show’s producers did nothing obvious to stop it. It was a dramatic change from five years ago when houseguest Nicole Schaffrich pledged to “kick ass,” “slit wrists, horizontally, not vertically” and “cut heads off,” leading the show’s producers to warn her about her behavior. Back then, the contestants who used threats or intimidation toward other houseguests faced expulsion from the game (as happened with contestant Justin Sebik who, as part of what he called a joke, held a knife to a fellow contestant’s throat and asked her if she would get mad if he killed her. After she laughed, he put down the weapon and kissed her). But for Season 7, CBS obviously felt that having a wild animal in the house spelled wild … Read More »