EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has set Djimon Hounsou to join Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie in the David Yates-directed Tarzan. Hounsou will play Chief Mbonga in the action adventure. He has a voice role in How To Train Your Dragon 2, which opens June 13, and next will be onscreeen in Guardians Of The Galaxy. Repped by CAA, The Safran Company and Robert Offer, he’s also shooting Fast & Furious 7 and Air.
Over The Cannes Transom: ‘Wolf Creek’ Director Greg McLean Heads To ‘Jungle’; ‘Gutshot Straight’ Sold To 12 Territories; Cargo Rides With ‘Beautiful Jim Key’; ‘House Of Last Things’ Sold In U.S., Canada, UK, & Germany; Daniel Radcliffe Says ‘You Shall Know Our Velocity’; More
Greg McLean (6 Miranda Drive, Wolf Creek) will direct Jungle, a thriller based on the international best-selling memoir written by Yossi Ghinsberg. Yossi is an enthusiastic young man with adventurous dreams who heads into the Bolivian jungle with two friends and a fraudulent guide. Their journey turns into a frightening psychological test of faith and human fortitude. Dana Lustig, Gary Hamilton and Mike Gabrawy are producing. Arclight Films has come on board to handle sales worldwide and will present the project to buyers in Cannes. CAA is packaging the film and represents the U.S. distribution rights. Shooting is set to begin toward the end of the year.
The crime action thriller Gutshot Straight has been sold to a dozen territories. The film centers on a pro poker player (George Eads) who gets mixed up with the underworld when he takes a wager proposed by a mysterious gambler (Stephen Lang). The cast also includes AnnaLynne McCord, Tia Carrere and Steven Seagal as a loan shark. Archstone Distribution said today that it has closed deals for the pic in the UK (Solo), Japan (Prisidio), Middle East (Italia Film), Poland (Kino Swiat), Scandinavia (Lucky Dogs), Pan Latin America (Polarstar), Germany (Maritim Pictures), Thailand (Mono), Ex-Yugo (Stars Media), Czech Republic (Pa-Dora), Benelux (Premiere TV) and Africa (SQN).
Cargo Entertainment has boarded Beautiful Jim Key, an early 20th century period film that marks the directorial debut of Saving Private Ryan scribe Robert Rodat. Cargo will handle international sales and finance with Two Ton Films. The Mark Gordon Company and Revelations Entertainment will produce. Morgan Freeman stars in the true story of Dr. William Key and his brilliant trained horse, Beautiful Jim Key. Production starts early next year.
Double Dutch International has sold distribution rights to thriller House Of Last Things in the U.S. and Canada (Revolver), UK (Signature Entertainment) and Germany (MiG), and is in the process of selling remaining territories at Cannes. The project marks the directorial debut of Michael Bartlett (The Little Girl Who Fell From The Tree), who also wrote the film. Lindsey Haun, Blake Berris, and RJ Mitte star. Set in Portland, OR, the film centers on an unspoken tragedy and its effects on a house, its temporary caretakers and the owners, a classical music critic and his wife on a recuperative trip to Italy. The Revolver deal was negotiated by Ron Moring for Double Dutch and Daniel Brandt for Revolver.
‘Fast & Furious 7′ Adds Djimon Hounsou; ‘Glee’s Melissa Benoist Gets ‘Whiplash’; Liana Liberato Joins ‘If I Stay’
Djimon Hounsou is adding his muscle to Universal‘s Fast & Furious 7, the studio announced today. He’ll join franchise veterans Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson and Tyrese, along with new baddie Jason Statham. The sequel helmed by James Wan is due to hit theaters July 11. Hounsou is repped by CAA, manager Peter Safran and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.
Glee‘s Melissa Benoist has been cast in Whiplash, adapted from writer-director Damien Chazelle’s Sundance-winning short film. J.K. Simmons plays a brutal jazz teacher who unloads his frustrations on a novice drummer (Miles Teller) who begins to lose his humanity in his quest to play with the country’s top jazz orchestra. Benoist just finished filming Imagine with Al Pacino and Annette Benning. She’s repped by UTA, Authentic Talent & Literary Management and Frankfurt Kurnit.
Liana Liberato will play Chloe Moretz’s best friend, a sarcastic book nerd, in If I Stay. R.J. Cutler’s film is based on Gayle Forman’s YA novel about a comatose teenager who has an out-of-body experience in the hospital and must choose between living a difficult life or giving up. Liberato, whose credits include Trust and Stuck In Love, is repped by Management 360 and CAA.
Craig Bankey has left WKT Public Relations to form his own company repping actors and filmmakers. He made the move last Friday, and said he is bringing with him clients that include Muhammad Ali, Matthew Goode, Michael C. Hall, Djimon Hounsou, Daniel Dae Kim, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe and Sendhil Ramamurthy. Bankey hasn’t named his company yet but will soon.
Don’t you hate when this happens? A DGA member emailed me that last night he went to what was advertised as a “special screening of The Tempest paid for by Touchstone Pictures” at the Writers Guild Theatre featuring a Q&A after the screening with director Julie Taymor and stars Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Alan Cumming and Djimon Hounsou. ”Only problem was, when I got to the location, there was a line of cars and a young woman telling anyone who would roll down their window that “there was a mistake — the screening is at 135 S. Doheny”. Except the screening wasn’t there either! It’s a residential address.” Touchstone’s Disney tells me today that “the address for the screening had the address for the WGA office instead of the WGA theatre. Fortunately, most attendees realized this and went to the screening. But we had two security guards and one staff member redirecting people to the correct address. We ended up with a full successful screening.”
Taymor has her hands full trying to get Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark to Broadway this upcoming season. But she’ll detour to Italy, where her film The Tempest is set as the closing film of the Venice Film Festival. Taymor’s Shakespeare adaptation stars Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Chris Cooper, Djimon Honsou, and Reeve Carney. She set the latter to play Spider-Man in the pricey Broadway musical with music and lyrics by U2′s Bono and The Edge. Venice has bookended its fest with Taymor and the opener Black Swan, the Darren Aronofsky-directed drama.