Casting news


Academy Award-winning actor Ben Kingsley has been cast as the voice of Bagheera in Disney’s upcoming The Jungle Book. Directed by Jon Favreau from a script by Justin Marks, The Jungle Book combines live action and animated filmmaking. The Jungle Book arrives in theaters in 3D on October 9, 2015.


Kate Winslet and Chiwetel Ejiofor have signed on for John Hillcoat’s Triple Nine. They’ll join Michael B. Jordan, Aaron Paul, Teresa Palmer, Michael Pena and soon-to-be Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot.

Triple Nine will be released in 2015 and involves “a group of crooked L.A. police officers who realize they must shoot one of their own in order to get away with planning a major heist. They choose as their victim a rookie and honorable young officer, but what they don’t know is that another cop has infiltrated the gang, and is working on a setup.”

First rumored more than a year ago, Rob Marshall’s film version of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway hit Into the Woods is signing the kind of names that show Disney is committed to doing this 1987 classic justice. In late April deals were said to be closee to secure Meryl Streep as the Witch, Johnny Depp as the Baker and James Corden as the Wolf. Allison Janney is also confirmed. Today it’s being reported that Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal ar set to join the cast as the two princely brothers. James Lapine, director of the 2002 revival, has written the screenplay.

Into the Woods is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. It debuted in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986, and premiered on Broadway in 1987. Bernadette Peters’ performance as the Witch and Joanna Gleason’s portrayal of the Baker’s Wife brought acclaim to the production during its original Broadway run. Into the Woods won several Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason), in a year dominated by The Phantom of the Opera.

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cooperMeanwhile, back at the ranch… Bradley Cooper is the new bad guy in Jane Got a Gun. Cooper is stepping in to fill the role of outlaw gang leader vacated by Jude Law. You’ll recall Law had stepped in to fill the spot left open when original villain Joel Edgerton was promoted to play Natalie Portman’s ex-lover — after Michael Fassbender dropped out of that role in mid-March. I’ve honestly forgotten who’s playing Portman’s husband, if I ever knew. Might help simplify things at this point if he’s dead already. Jane has enough problems.

Gavin O’Connor came onboard two weeks ago to replace director Lynn Ramsey after the project began to unravel for reasons that have never been adequately explained. Jane Got a Gun has been in production for over a week now. Cooper is finishing up work on David O. Russell’s untitled Abscam film.


Over the past couple of days, the cast roster for Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s comedy Birdman has been quickly inked in. Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis are all set to appear in a film that sounds almost as if it might have been written by Charlie Kaufman. Another important role has filled today.

(via CinemaBlend) Edward Norton is the latest actor to join the cast of Birdman. Written by Innaritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, the story follows a has-been actor (Keaton) who was once famous for playing an iconic superhero. Finding himself broke, he decides that the best way to see his name in lights again is to put on a Broadway play based on a story by Raymond Carver. Unfortunately, according to Deadline, his plans get derailed by an “egotistical lead stage actor,” the character set to be played by Norton.

Watts will play Norton’s female co-star in the play-within-a-movie, Stone will be playing Keaton’s daughter/assistant, and Galifianakis will be the show’s slimy producer. The film will actually be shot in a Broadway theater in New York and production is currently scheduled to begin in the middle of next month.

The female lead role has yet to be cast. Watch this space for updates as this project continues to look more and more amazing.

Martin Scorsese’s adds another alpha male to the wolf pack. Matthew McConaughey will play Mark Hanna, mentor of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio).

The greasy tale of Wall Street corruption also features Jonah Hill, Jean Dujardin, Margot Robbie, Jon Favreau, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler and Jon Bernthal. The Wolf of Wall Street is adapted from Belfort’s memoir by Terry Winter who’s written over 40 episodes of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. It’s scored by Howard Shore and shot by cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, hot off Ben Affleck’s Argo. If you need another reason to be happy: Thelma Schoonmaker.

Brief production update. We don’t usually report on cast and crew rosters of movies before the cameras roll, but yesterday brought some worthy news. If the stellar acting talent assembled by Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained isn’t already enough to get you excited, it’s now official that he’ll be reteaming with 2-time Oscar winning cinematographer Robert Richardson, and the film will be edited by Fred Raskin who worked on both installments of Kill Bill.

Django Unchained is set for a Dec 25th, 2012 premiere. Cast for the lead roles, after the cut.

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Brief production update. We don’t usually report on cast and crew rosters of movies before the cameras roll, but yesterday brought some worthy news. If the stellar acting talent assembled by Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained isn’t already enough to get you excited, it’s now official that he’ll be reteaming with 2-time Oscar winning cinematographer Robert Richardson, and the film will be edited by Fred Raskin who worked on both installments of Kill Bill.

Django Unchained is set for a Dec 25th, 2012 premiere. Cast for the lead roles, after the cut.

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We knew the rumors sounded solid, but it’s good to hear from somebody who knows for certain. Jamie Foxx tells CNN he’ll be taking the lead role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Foxx also confirms that Leonardo DiCaprio is cast as the villainous slave owner Calvin Candie, and Samuel L. Jackson as Candie’s overseer and head house-slave Stephen. (via FilmStage) As reported weeks ago, Christoph Waltz will play Dr. King Schultze, the German bounty hunter who becomes Django’s mentor in his pursuit of vengeance. Skip to 0:50 in the clip below to hear for yourself, but don’t expect any deeper details than those we already know.

Brief followup to Sasha’s post two days ago about Warren Beatty’s comeback. Fulfilling a decades-old dream, Beatty will star as Howard Hughes in a story of the billionaire’s May-December affair with a younger woman. Reportedly being interviewed for supporting roles are Andrew Garfield, Alec Baldwin, Annette Bening, Shia La Beouf, Jack Nicholson, Evan Rachel Wood and Rooney Mara.

After unconfirmed but credible rumors spread earlier today on Twitter, Deadline now sounds confident that Jamie Foxx has been chosen for the lead role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.

Foxx will join Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCario and Samuel L. Jackson in a Sergio Leone-style spaghetti Western that Tarantino wrote and has set in Mississippi during slavery… Django is a slave who’s liberated by a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter [Waltz] and taught the tricks of the trade by his mentor. Django’s major goal in life is to recover his wife, and to do it he needs to get past the villainous ranch owner Calvin Candie [DiCaprio], who runs Candyland, a despicable club and plantation in Mississippi where female slaves are exploited as sex objects and males are pitted against each other in “mandingo” style death matches. Candie is a slave’s worst nightmare and that is where Django’s wife Broomhilda is an abused slave… Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction star Samuel L. Jackson is also expected to play the role of Stephen, Candie’s valet who keeps the slaves in line at Candie’s residence.

As Midnight in Paris continues to rake in cash as one of the most popular Woody Allen films ever, he readies his next stop on the Grand Tour of Europe, finalizing the cast for Bop Decameron, to be set in Rome.

Starring, in alphabetical order, are: Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. Co-stars include Antonio Albanese, Fabio Armiliata, Alessandra Mastronardi, Ornella Muti, Alison Pill, Riccardo Scamarcio and Alessandro Tiberi, and
Flavio Parenti [the unfortunate son in I Am Love.]

This is Allen’s first film to be financed by the Italian production and distribution company, Medusa Film. The Bop Decameron begins production on July 11 and marks Allen’s first time shooting in Rome.
(press release)

As Wiki reminds us:

The Decameron is a collection of 100 novellas by Giovanni Boccaccio, probably begun in 1350 and finished in 1351/3. It is a medieval allegorical work best known for its bawdy tales of love, appearing in all its possibilities from the erotic to the tragic. Other topics such as wit and witticism, practical jokes and worldly initiation also form part of the mosaic. Beyond its entertainment and literary popularity it remains an important historical document of life in the fourteenth century, and has been influential with later authors such as Geoffrey Chaucer.

Hugh Hefner wanted to adapt the naughtiest stories from the Decameron in an outright pornographic epic, but perhaps thought better of the hardcore concept after Penthouse and Bob Guccione’s attempt to reveal full-frontal Rome in Caligula. Pier Paolo Pasolini filmed his version of the Decameron in 1971. Of course, ‘The Bop’ in Woody’s title indicates an update to the present day — with a clever overlap between the musical and sexual definitions of the term.

Vulture says Darren Aronofsy hopes to calm studio jitters about the $130 million he wants to spend on Noah by attaching a star big enough to captain the legendary ship.

Aronofsky is in talks with Christian Bale about possibly starring in his take on Noah’s Ark, to help secure studio backing for it. Presumably, Aronofsky wants Bale for the lead, even though Noah was 600 years old when the Great Flood hit, and Bale is only 37.

Regardless, locking down Bale early — even before there’s money to make an offer — would have the twofold benefit of both securing a leading man and helping land the rest of the money needed to make such an expensive, effects-driven film. If Bale commits, that would help provide clarity to the trio of studios considering co-financing the movie: While Noah is set up at the Fox-based mini-studio New Regency, its massive budget means that some other studio will need to come in and help with the heavy lifting. For the trio of studios circling the project, which includes Paramount, Summit, and Fox, knowing Bale is in the wings would help them get a forecast on what Noah might make in foreign territories before they commit to making such a pricey picture.

Firstly, I think Bale proved in The Fighter that he can look 600 years old. Secondly, studios are seriously nervous about producing a movie that’s certain to launch convoys of packed church buses for 40 days and 40 nights? Relax.

Hints from around the web tell us about Aronofsky’s intentions, after the cut.

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Deadline broke the news that Paramount and Scorsese are in talks to bring the torrid love story between Richard Burton and Liz Taylor to the big screen.  The film is going to be based on the book Furious Love.  Burton and Taylor fell in love on the set of Cleopatra and had that wonderful lifelong love affair.

Funnily enough, David Fincher is directing the Cleopatra remake with Angelina Jolie — Fincher, Scorsese….Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton.   They could just cast Angelina and be done with it.

My dream casting would be Russell Crowe and Charlize Theron with black hair.  But if she couldn’t do it, I’d probably want Angelina (though I’d make her gain twenty pounds at least).

How about you? Your choices?

Maybe someday Woody Allen will assemble the cast of his dreams and make a movie starring Ron Rifkin, Bob Balaban, David Cross, Austin Pendleton, each representing another facet of nebbish. For now we’ll have to be satisfied that Roberto Benigni is set to appear in Allen’s next film, set in Italy, alongside Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page and Alec Baldwin.

One of those casting rumors we like to repeat because the internet makes it true. Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth are in talks to appear together in Stoker, a family suspense thriller by Korean director Park Chan-wook (Oldboys, Thirst). Scheduled by Fox Searchlight to begin shooting as soon as early this Spring, Stoker involves a girl and her mother who are visited by a mysterious uncle after the girl’s father dies. Local residents begin to go missing and the girl suspects her uncle may be the cause. (Shades of Shadow of a Doubt?) Colin would play the uncle with Nicole as the mother and Mia Wasikowska as the girl, India Stoker.

With all the surnames in the world to choose from, am I twisted for wishing that somehow these mysterious disappearances might somehow be related to creepy happenings explored by another Stoker over 100 years ago? Screenwriter Wentworth Miller says, Not quite:

It‚Äôs got a lot of elements of the Dracula mythology in its story… It‚Äôs not a vampire story. It‚Äôs not about vampires at least with the teeth and the desire to suck your blood but it is a thriller and it is about an individual who preys on the innocent.


EW has learned exclusively that Armie Hammer is in talks to join Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio’s upcoming J. Edgar Hoover biopic, which will now be called J. Edgar. In the film about the former FBI director, Hammer would play lawyer-turned-FBI-official — and, some say, Hoover’s lover — Clyde Tolson. Though the pair didn’t always agree on political tactics, Tolson remained a loyal friend and advisor to Hoover. It sounds like a juicy role that fits perfectly with Hammer’s combination of brawn and brains. Eastwood will direct from a script by Milk Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black.

Daisy Buchanan Carey Mulligan

“Who wants to go to town?” demanded Daisy insistently.

Baz Luhrmann has chosen Carey Mulligan to play Daisy in his adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic, The Great Gatsby. Deadline has the exclusive news and reports with appropriately glamorous detail:

Mulligan was on the reception line for The Fashion Council Awards in New York when she got the call on her cell phone from Luhrmann, just a few minutes ago. She burst into tears on the red carpet in front of Karl Lagerfield and Anna Wintour. This all occurred shortly after Luhrmann showed the audition footage to Sony Pictures Entertainment execs Amy Pascal and Doug Belgrad, who were impressed by Mulligan’s command of the character played in the 1974 film by Mia Farrow.

Mulligan was a late entrant to an elite list of actresses that Luhrmann met with while he conducted readings with Leonardo DiCaprio, who’ll play Jay Gatsby. Tobey Maguire is expected to play his friend, Nick Carraway, who narrates the tale.

Expect the casting of the other prominent roles to be announced with similar drama and fanfare, because if Baz Luhrmann is anything he’s a showman. The photo of Mulligan above was taken by Luhrmann himself during workshop rehearsals last week. (thanks to phantom for the link)

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The bad news: Despite efforts to reconcile with actors’ unions in New Zealand and Australia, problems remain unresolved. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh have issued a joint statement saying Warner Bros.‚Äô faith in the New Zealand industry has been undermined, and that the studio is wary of spending $500m in the country most associated with Middle Earth.

“The damage inflicted on our film industry by [the actors unions] is long since done,” and resolution of the union issue now “does nothing to help the film stay in New Zealand.”

“Next week Warners are coming down to New Zealand to make arrangements to move the production offshore. It appears we cannot make films in our own country even when substantial financing is available.‚Äù

The good news is that casting proceeds unabated. Even as these labor disputes threaten the involvement of thousands of New Zealanders who might have populated The Hobbit, Jackson has been filling his lead actors:

Deadline reports that other roles could be waiting for Stephen Fry, Saoirse Ronan, James Nesbitt and David Tennant. Ian McKellan and Andy Serkis will most likely return Gandalf and Gollum. Aiden Turner is a possibility as the Elf King, and Bill Nighy might supply the voice of the dragon Smaug.

Peter Jackson talks about his casting decisions after the cut.

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jolie pitt

[CORRECTED: I’ve changed the headline to reflect a better translation of an interview with Guillermo Arriaga. Aronofsky might one day direct Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie — but not, as far as we know, in the same movie. I posted another article in July concerning talk that Jolie could appear in Aronofsky’s adaptation of a gripping wilderness revenge thriller called Serena. That’s got nothing to do with The Tiger, so apologies for the confusion. The good news: everybody who hated Mr & Mrs Smith can stop worrying about a sequel involving sexy spies and Appalachian tigers.]

A couple of days ago I was ready punch the “Publish” button on a speculative post called “Aronofsky torn between X-Men & G-Men”. The story would have involved rumors that Darren Aronofsky had been handed a choice between two options at a career crossroads following the extraordinary international reception for Black Swan. One route would have taken him toward directing the sequel to X-Men: Wolverine for Fox. Another street led to Tales From the Gangster Squad for Warner Bros. With confirmation earlier this week that Zack Snyder is set to direct the new Superman for producer Christopher Nolan, THR was reporting that Aronofsky could be looking for his own tent pole opportunity.

I hesitated to post for two reasons. First, there didn’t seem to be much to substantiate the claims. Second, it made me sort of queasy to think about Aronofsky directing a Furry variation of Edward Scissorhands. (Plus, I want Ben Affleck to direct Tales from the Gangster Squad.) I wanted to suggest Aronofsky take a minute to meditate on Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken before he stepped off the wrong cliff.

Well, whew. Another better rumor has come along today that I’m happy to spread around, whether there’s any real basis in fact or not. Back in May we told you about Brad Pitt acquiring rights to The Tiger, a soon-to-be-published true-life adventure written by John Vaillant.

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