EXCLUSIVE: Tim Blake Nelson is getting more company on his ensemble drama Anesthesia. The Lincoln actor wrote, stars in, and is directing the pic which follows the disparate stories of New Yorkers whose lives come together after the violent mugging of a Columbia University philosophy professor. Sam Waterston has been cast as said professor, Walter Zarrow. Oscar-nominated Glenn Close will play Zarrow’s wife Marcia, with Corey Stoll (Midnight In Paris) as an investment banker who witnesses the attack and Gretchen Mol as his wife, an alcoholic New Jersey homemaker. As I reported Sunday, Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart has taken a supporting role in the ensemble drama; she’ll play Zarrow’s troubled student Sophie. Nelson will step in front of the camera himself to play Zarrow’s son.
Tim Blake Nelson’s ‘Anesthesia’ Adds Glenn Close, Sam Waterston, Gretchen Mol, Michael K. Williams, Corey Stoll & More
Cari Lynn is an AwardsLine contributor.
Although Oberlin and Tisch-grad Corey Stoll received accolades for his 2004 stage performance opposite Viola Davis in Intimate Apparel and was a series regular on Law And Order: LA, his breakout came in 2011 playing Ernest Hemingway in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris. But it’s his role as Peter Russo in David Fincher’s lauded House Of Cards that is now generating Emmy buzz. Stoll plays a well-meaning U.S. Representative from Philadelphia, whose dalliances with debauchery land him beholden to the Machiavellian congressman from South Carolina played by Kevin Spacey.
AwardsLine: Peter Russo is such a richly nuanced character. How did this role come to you?
Stoll: It happened before all the pilot season craziness. I read the script and fell in love instantly. I put [my audition] on tape, but then didn’t hear anything for months. When they did come back to me, it was to meet with David Fincher. The irony is that when I first auditioned, I thought it was a part that could go on for years. It’s a high bar when you’re looking at a pilot, and you want a character that you could play for a while, a character where you can see all the iterations. It was in this initial meeting when David gave me the basic character arc, and there was part of me that was holding some sort of hope they would change their mind [about the character’s demise]. But then I began to see it as more like doing a film role, and I could really dig in in that way.
AwardsLine: I had an overall eye-opening experience when I interned on Capitol Hill. Was there anything about politics and D.C. that you were surprised to learn?
Stoll: I was shocked at how young the city is! Interns and young staffers are the people who make the city function. I’m not the first person to point out the parallels between Hollywood and D.C.—the intersection of image-making, power and money. I saw that the reason some people originally went into politics and where they wind up can get mixed up very easily. The game can be so intoxicating.
EXCLUSIVE: Corey Stoll (House Of Cards, Midnight In Paris) and Sarah Baker (The Campaign) have joined the cast of The Good Lie, about a young Sudanese refugee who wins a lottery for relocation to the U.S. with three others. Ugandan-born Brit Arnold Oceng (My Brother The Devil) nabbed the lead role of Mamere opposite Reese Witherspoon as a brash American woman assigned to help the Lost Boys. The pic, based on true events, begins filming Monday in Atlanta before production heads to Africa. Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar) is directing from a screenplay by Margaret Nagle (Warm Springs, Boardwalk Empire).
Filmmakers took pains to cast actors of Sudanese origin in the project, which was developed in the Imagine-Reliance Entertainment Writers Lab. A worldwide casting search led them to Ger Duany, a former Sudanese Lost Boy who emigrated to the U.S. and became a professional model, and fellow ex-child soldier-turned-hip hop artist Emmanuel Jal.
As the pilot casting season gradually shifts from straight offers to tests — a lot of tests — the broadcast networks are racing against the clock to lock in names as the leads of its pilots. Of the early offer magnets, Rose Byrne and Kevin Kline passed on everything they …