Marisa Tomei and Joshua Jackson have joined Alexander Siddig aboard the thriller Inescapable, which Killer Films’ Christine Vachon, Myriad Pictures’ Kirk D’Amico and Alliance Films’ Mark Slone are executive producing; Alliance is distributing in Canada, and Myriad is shopping worldwide rights. Ruba Nadda wrote the script and will direct the story of a Syrian expatriate (Siddig) whose journalist daughter goes missing in Damascus, and he must return to his homeland to find her and calls on a former love (Tomei) to help him. An embassy official (Jackson) is at first helpful but may have an agenda of his own. Daniel Iron and Lance Samuels are producing. Nadda, Siddig and Irons are reuniting for the project after working together on 2009′s Patricia Clarkson-starrer Cairo Time.
EXCLUSIVE: Holly Hunter has been set by Mandate Pictures to star in the untitled comedy that will mark the directing debut of Young Adult and Juno scribe Diablo Cody. Hunter joins Julianne Hough, Russell Brand and The Help‘s Octavia Spencer. The comedy follows a sheltered young woman (Hough) who loses her faith after a plane crash and heads to Vegas to experience the wild side of life. Hunter will play her conservative and overprotective mother. Mason Novick is producing and Mandate president Nathan Kahane is exec producing with Cody. Production starts next spring with Lionsgate handling international sales.
Since ending her run on the TNT series Saving Grace, Hunter has wrapped the Walden Media drama Won’t Back Down, and she just finished playing the title character in the Antoinette Beumer-directed indie Jackie. She’ll reunite with The Piano helmer Jane Campion next year on the BBC/Sundance Channel miniseries Top Of The Lake. Hunter’s repped by ICM and Management 360.
Peter Weller’s reps confirm he’s joining the cast of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek sequel, in what is a principal role but one they would not specify. Weller, best known in feature sci-fi circles for his iconic role as Robocop, has been busy as a director, and for acting stints on 24, Dexter, Fringe and Psych. Paramount will release the Star Trek sequel May 17, 2013. Alice Eve and Benicio Del Toro are likely to take part, joining the returning original cast that is headed by Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. Who should Weller play? Paramount and Abrams spent the weekend knocking down a speculative report Del Toro would play the Kahn role that Ricardo Montalban played in the original Star Trek series and the 1982 feature film. Weller’s repped by APA and BMP.
He is arguably the best actor on the ATP Tour with his spot-on impersonations. Now world’s No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic is set to make his professional acting debut with a cameo in The Expendables 2. Djokovic has already arrived in Bulgaria, where the sequel is filming. The tennis champion will play himself in the movie after getting an invitation from producer Avi Lerner. Djokovic, who won three of the four tennis Grand Slams this year during one of the best tennis seasons on record, is as well known for showmanship as he is for his tennis skills. Earlier this year, he filmed a parody of tennis player Maria Sharapova’s Head commercial, prompting the tennis equipment manufacturer to make a new commercial featuring both Djokovic as the Russian beauty and Sharapova herself. Below is a clip from the 2007 U.S. Open, where Djokovic was asked to do a couple of impersonations of fellow tennis players.
Sharon Stone confirmed that she is set to play the mother of Linda Lovelace in Lovelace, a biopic about the porn star from Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Amanda Seyfried is already aboard to play Lovelace, one of the most famous adult film stars whose Deep Throat is the genre’s most iconic movie and one of the all-time highest-grossing indie films. The script centers on Lovelace’s relationship with her husband Chuck Traynor, who steered her into the business; she subsequently quit porn and divorced Traynor. Peter Sarsgaard is in negotiations for the husband. The script is by Andy Bellin and W. Merritt Johnson, based on the book The Complete Linda Lovelace by Eric Danville. Partners on the project are Millennium Films, Eclectic Pictures and Untitled Entertainment. Stone told the Associated Press that she is shooting the Voltage Pictures thriller The Mule before starting work on the Lovelace film, which is expected to begin production in January.
Jon Bernthal, whose Shane character on AMC’s The Walking Dead is on one twisted journey in the show’s second season, will join Dwayne Johnson and Susan Sarandon in Snitch. That’s the Ric Roman Waugh-directed action drama for Summit Entertainment that begins filming early next month in Louisiana. Johnson plays a construction company owner who becomes a DEA snitch to reduce his son’s prison sentence. Bernthal plays an ex-con laborer for the construction company who is forced by his boss to help connect him to an underground drug dealer. Bernthal, who was part of the cast of HBO’s The Pacific and the Roman Polanski-directed The Ghost Writer, is repped by WME and the Burstein Company. The film’s being co-financed by Exclusive Media, Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi.
EXCLUSIVE: Mamie Gummer is attached to star in writer-director Stacy Sherman’s indie comedic drama Claire’s Cambodia, which Billy Ray is producing. The story revolves around three sisters whose estrangement, resentment and envy of one another is barely dented by the news that their father is terminally ill. Gummer’s recent feature credits include Taking Woodstock, John Carpenter’s The Ward and Twelve Thirty. On TV, she was in the HBO miniseries John Adams and was a series regular on ABC’s Off The Map. She is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.
Sherman won an Emmy and was Oscar-nominated for the documentary short God Sleeps In Rwanda and co-wrote Lionsgate’s upcoming Katherine Heigl-starrer One For The Money. Ray is currently writing to direct The Secret In Their Eyes for Warner Bros. Sherman is repped by ICM, Ray by CAA and Management 360.
EXCLUSIVE: Australian actor Josh Lawson has been cast in Warner Bros’ Dog Fight, the Jay Roach-directed comedy that stars Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis and begins shooting this month. Dylan McDermott also recently joined up, as did reportedly Jason Sudeikis. The plot revolves around a political candidate (Galifianakis), and Lawson will play his brother; the script originally called for two brothers, but the roles were combined after Lawson’s table read. Lawson starred in the Aussie improv show Thank God You’re Here and is set to appear in the Don Cheadle-starring Showtime series House Of Lies that premieres in January. He’s repped by UTA, Management 360 and Lisa Mann Creative Management in Australia.
Max Irons is getting the role of Jared in The Host, the adaptation of the science fiction novel by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer that will star Saoirse Ronan and be directed by Andrew Niccol, who wrote the script. This comes after Jake Abel became frontrunner to play the role of Ian. The derby for the role of Jared included a small circle of actors including Liam Hemsworth (also a finalist to play Bruce Willis’ son in A Good Day To Die Hard), Kit Harington and Jai Courtney. Open Road acquired the film for domestic distribution. UTA and UK-based Tavistock Wood rep Irons.
Natasha Lyonne has been set to star in Tara Subkoff’s directorial debut Playdate, an indie drama scripted by Melissa Samuels that Liz Destro is producing. It is set to begin shooting this month in Los Angeles. Lyonne will play Amy, an unfulfilled stay-at-home mom who befriends a seeming perfect fellow mom (Radha Mitchell) that moves in next door. The two become fast friends until Grace reveals a vicious streak and begins destroying Amy’s life, a spiral that ends with the mysterious death of Grace’s husband and Amy as the prime suspect. Lyonne is coming off wrapping roles in Universal’s American Reunion and the indie Imogene alongside Kristin Wiig and Annette Bening. She is repped by APA and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Todd Allen has joined the still-growing ensemble for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained as plantation overseer Dollar Bill. He joins Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washingon, Samuel L. Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kurt Russell, Anthony LaPaglia and Don Johnson among others. Allen’s previous credits include Friday Night Lights, CSI, NCIS, Chicago Hope and features The Postman, The Apostle, Broken Hill and 48 HRS.
Hayley Atwell has been piped on board The Return Of Captain Nemo, a $10 million 3D sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea that hopes to start shooting January 16. David Morrissey, star of Brit TV’s Red Riding, is also attached to this Captain Nemo adventure, to be directed by Pearry Teo. Atwell — who has just tested for Universal’s Joseph Kosinski-directed Tom Cruise science fiction film Oblivion – will play the heroine Sara, while Morrissey plays her uncle, the chief adviser to President Ulysses S Grant, who frees Nemo from prison to try and discover why mysterious “sea monsters” are sinking ships up and down the Atlantic Coast. Hugh Bonneville, star of PBS/ITV period drama Downton Abbey, has already been announced as Nemo. Producer Amy Krell says she is closing the finance from U.S., Asian and UK investors, and will shoot in Romania. Like 300, The Return Of Captain Nemo will be shot entirely onstage using green screen and CGI. “We would have to double our production costs if we shot this in the States,” Krell says. Shoreline Entertainment is selling internationally. This steampunk version features some rather cool designs, such as a 19th century Air Force One and of course, the Nautilus.
As filming got underway Monday for Skyfall, the names of two additional actors but not their characters’ identities were posted on the movie’s Twitter account @007: Helen McCrory (Hugo, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2) and Ola Rapace, former husband of Noomi Rapace, apparently in his first English-language role. Last week’s reveal of the official title of Bond 23 was the most recent big news for the project, along with director Sam Mendes promising there would be plenty of action as well as “emotional context.” In addition to McCrory, Rapace and of course Daniel Craig, the rest of Skyfall‘s previously reported cast includes Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Judi Dench, Ben Whishaw and Albert Finney.
Amanda Seyfried, currently in theaters in Andrew Niccol’s In Time, has been cast as Linda Lovelace in Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s movie about the infamous porn star, Lovelace. Peter Sarsgaard is in negotiations to play her husband Chuck Traynor, the pornographer who coaxed her into becoming an adult film actress. Lovelace went on to appear in Deep Throat, one of the most famous and all-time highest-grossing independent movies. She subsequently quit porn and divorced Traynor. The script is by Andy Bellin and W. Merritt Johnson, based on the book The Complete Linda Lovelace by Eric Danville. Partners on the project are Millennium Films, Eclectic Pictures and Untitled Entertainment. Eclectic’s Heidi Jo Markel, Animus Films’ Jim Young and Untitled’s Laura Rister and Jason Weinberg are producing. Millennium’s Avi Lerner is exec producing. Actors previously attached to star were James Franco, who starred in Epstein and Friedman’s Howl, and Kate Hudson before she became pregnant. Filming on Lovelace is expected to start in January.
EXCLUSIVE: Hot off My Week With Marilyn, Eddie Redmayne has been set to play the role of Marius in Les Miserables, the Tom Hooper-directed musical for Universal Pictures that stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert and Anne Hathaway as Fantine. Universal has set the Working Title-produced musical for release in the center of next year’s Oscar race with a December 7, 2012 date. Cameron Mackintosh is producing with Working Title’s Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Debra Hayward. William Nicholson wrote the script and the music is by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil.
Redmayne, whose starring role opposite Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn has put him in the Oscar discussion, won a Tony Award for Red and he is preparing to star in Richard II, which is Michael Grandage’s farewell production as artistic director of Donmar Warehouse. That play opens December 1. Redmayne, who made a memorable debut in the Robert De Niro-directed The Good Shepherd, recently wrapped the Derick Martini-directed Hick alongside Chloe Moretz and Blake Lively, and the BBC two-part WWI miniseries Birdsong. Redmayne is repped by CAA, manager Gene Parseghian and United Agents in the UK.
CBS Films has set Leslie Bibb, True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten and Amy Smart to star in 7500, a thriller that will be directed by The Grudge helmer Takashi Shimizu. The focus is a group of passengers who encounter what appears to be a supernatural force while on a transpacific flight. The film begins shooting later this month.
Kwanten and Smart play a married couple and Bibb is a flight attendant on Vista Pacific Flight 7500. The film will cast up quickly. Craig Rosenberg wrote the script, and Shimizu is reteaming with Grudge producer Taka Ichise, who’s producing with The Ring producer Roy Lee. John Middleton and Tracy McGrath are exec producers. Bibb’s repped by ICM, Kwanten by CAA and Orly Adelson, Smart by Gersh.
EXCLUSIVE: Anthony LaPaglia has joined Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained cast. LaPaglia will play the leader of a group of greedy Australians who encounter slave-turned-bounty hunter Django (Jamie Foxx) as they are escorting a group of slaves recently purchased as fighters. LaPaglia said he and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will play mean brothers, and LaPaglia said he was bowled over by the script. “It’s wildly ambitious and imaginative, deals with that subject matter in a way it hasn’t been dealt with before,” LaPaglia told me. “The way the cast has shaped up, it’s exciting to be involved.” It will be the second film in a row where LaPaglia can readopt the Australian accent he grew up with but dropped for many of his Hollywood roles and the series Without A Trace. He wrapped the PJ Hogan-directed Mental with Toni Collette and Liev Schreiber, a film that LaPaglia said is partly based on the filmmaker’s own experiences. “I play the father, who in real life had committed his mother to a mental institution, who had five kids, picked up a hitchhiker [Collette] on the way back and said, you’re taking care of the kids now.” LaPaglia said Hogan got rights to tunes from The Sound Of Music, and uses them in unexpected ways. “I absolutely assassinate “Edelweiss,” just tear it to shreds so badly that I’m sure Christopher Plummer would have a fit. It was meant to be terrible, and it is.”
Boardwalk Empire‘s Shea Whigham has joined the cast of David O Russell’s The Silver Linings Playbook alongside Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro. Whigham just wrapped the second season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and will next be seen in the upcoming Take Shelter and the Sean Penn-starrer This Must Be The Place. He’s repped by CAA and Principal Entertainment.
Josh Holloway (Lost), Laz Alonso (Avatar), Josh Peck (The Wackness), Caity Lotz (Stomp The Yard) and singer Chris Brown are starring in Benson Lee’s Planet B-Boy, a feature based on Lee’s 2007 documentary about the resurgence of breakdancing crews around the world. Brin Hill and Chris Parker wrote the script for the Screen Gems feature, which Beau Flynn, Tripp Vinson and Amy Lo are producing. Shooting started today in Los Angeles and will move on to Montpellier, France. The feature centers on an all-star American “b-boy” crew training to compete in France at the Battle of the Year International Championships, where they must face the best and greatest b-boys in the world: the Koreans, the Russians and the French, who have dominated the original American dance form for the past decade.