EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Michael Kenneth Williams, better known as Chalky White if you have HBO and are as addicted to Terence Winter’s Boardwalk Empire as I am. Williams, who first made his mark on HBO’s The Wire playing Omar, the elusive man who robbed crack dealers, is currently starring opposite Mark Wahlberg in the Rupert Wyatt-directed remake of The Gambler at Paramount Pictures. He appeared in the Robocop remake as well as Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave and most recently wrapped Inherent Vice for Paul Thomas Anderson. Williams returns for the fifth and final season of Boardwalk Empire this fall. He had been repped at ICM Partners.
Williams continues to be managed by Matt Goldman and Sam Maydew at Silver Lining Entertainment. The other thing to know about Williams is that while Quentin Tarantino chose Jamie Foxx to play the title role in Django Unchained because Jamie’s skill on horseback made him the cowboy Tarantino was looking for, Quentin told me he loved Williams, who presented him with a hard decision.
EXCLUSIVE: Writer-director William Monahan has signed a two-year first-look deal with Paramount Pictures. His company, Henceforth Pictures, has a number of projects already in development, including several Monahan originals. The deal comes as the Monahan-scripted reboot of The Gambler is in production at Paramount with Mark Wahlberg and Jessica Lange starring and Rupert Wyatt directing. Monahan also adapted the book Cocaine Cowboys into Desperado, a film that will re-team Lone Survivor helmer Peter Berg with Wahlberg and which Paramount will put into production in the fall.
Monahan separately has turned in a scripted adaptation of John Le Carre’s most recent novel, A Delicate Truth, to BBC Films. He has numerous other projects in the pipeline, including Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For, as well as an adaption of Sympathy For Lady Vengeance that will star Charlize Theron, with Monahan producing with Theron and Megan Ellison. He also adapted the adventure novel The Wild Geese, which was previously turned in to the 1978 film that starred Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Roger Moore. Monahan is producing that with Greg Shapiro and Patrick Milling Smith. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The American Horror Story star has put her cards on the table for The Gambler. Jessica Lange will play the rich and ostentatious mother of Mark Wahlberg’s in-debt character in the Paramount remake of the 1974 pic. Wahlberg will reprise the role James Caan played in the original of a college professor whose gambling addiction takes over his life even after his debts lead to some nasty new friends. Talks for two-time Oscar winner Lange to get on board with the movie have been going on for a couple of months, as I reported back in October. Brie Lawson is also in the Rupert Wyatt-directed pic from a script from William Monahan. Joining The Gambler comes at the end of a high profile month for Lange. On a career second life rarely seen in Hollywood, the actress recently received both Golden Globes and the SAG Awards nominations for her role as the Supreme witch Fiona Goode on the current AHS: Coven season of the FX horror franchise. Lange, who also published her first children’s book It’s About A Little Bird in October, has previously won an Emmy plus GG and SAG awards for the performances on past seasons of the show. And there could be more – last month FX reupped AHS for a fourth season with Lange. The actress is repped by WME … Read More »
Leland Orser has joined the cast of Paramount’s remake of The Gambler, starring Mark Wahlberg and Brie Larson. He will play Jones, a resentful English professor at UCLA who is the Wahlberg character’s superior. Rupert Wyatt is set to direct the pic from a script by William Monahan. Orser also will star in writer-director Riley Stearns’ Faults, recently named to the 2013 Black List. He plays Ansel Roth, who is hired by parents of a woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who is caught up in a cult to kidnap and deprogram her. Orser, whose recent credits include TV’s Magic City, Revolution and Touch, next appears in The Guest, which will premiere at Sundance next month. He is repped by Gersh and The Burstein Company.
Ivana Milicevic has landed a role in the Untitled Cameron Crowe project for Sony. The romantic comedy centers on a defense contractor (Bradley Cooper) who falls for an Air Force pilot (Emma Stone) after he is assigned to oversee the launch of a weapons satellite from Hawaii. Milicevic plays Alexis Huff, the biographer of Bill Murray’s character, who follows him to the Aloha State. Scott Rudin is producing the pic, which Crowe wrote and is directing. The cast also includes Rachel McAdams, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Seems the stakes are rising on Paramount’s The Gambler. Brie Larson is in negotiations to play the female lead opposite Mark Wahlberg in the remake of the 1974 James Caan pic, I’ve learned. Talks are in a very early stage and details of her role are sketchy, but it could all come together in the next few days. The role would be another step into studio movies for the actress, who starred in 21 Jump Street last year. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes helmer Rupert Wyatt is set to direct the new Gambler from a script by William Monahan. Larson may not be the only new addition: The studio and producers are looking to bring American Horror Story star Jessica Lange on board as well. In August, Larson won the Best Actress Award at the Locarno Film Festival for her turn as a troubled social worker in Short Term 12, and she also was recently seen in the Sundance pic The Spectacular Now and Joe Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon. She is repped by Gersh and managed by ROAR.
Related: Mark Wahlberg & Rupert Wyatt Eyeing ‘The Gambler’
EXCLUSIVE: I’m in transit from Toronto, but here is a hot project coming together quickly. I’m hearing that Mark Wahlberg is circling to star and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes helmer Rupert Wyatt is circling to direct The Gambler, a William Monahan-scripted remake of the 1974 James Caan movie for Paramount. The remake is being produced by original producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff and also Stephen Levinson. Caan played a college professor whose gambling addiction overcomes him even after he gets in big trouble with the wrong guys. James Toback wrote the original script and the pic co-starred Lauren Hutton and Paul Sorvino.