ROLE CALL: Clooney Gets Caged

George Clooney and Nicolas Cage are getting serious about issues of life and death these days.

Clooney, whose “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is currently in theaters, is in final talks to play the lead in “The Life of David Gale,” Daily Variety says. And joining him might be Cage, who is producing the film but also is considering a small but pivotal role.

Directed by “Angela’s Ashes‘” Alan Parker, the story concerns a professor and capital-punishment opponent who’s convicted of murdering another activist and is put on death row.

OOPS! SHE’S DOING IT: Being voted the year’s worst dressed performer has certainly done nothing to curb the steam of reigning pop princess Britney Spears.

After numerous offers and much indecision, the crooner will finally make her feature acting debut for “Billy Madison” director Tamra Davis in what’s been temporarily called the “Untitled Britney Spears Project,” The Hollywood Reporter says.

Budgeted at about $10 million, the film is about three high school friends traveling together across the country. On their way, they meet an aspiring musician who persuades them to go to Los Angeles to compete in a musical contest.

And yes, Spears is expected to sing in the film.

John Cusack ‘COSMIC’ BALANCE: John Cusack is in all the coolest films in town.

The “High Fidelity” and “Being John Malkovich” guy will star and produce the film “Cosmic Banditos,” which chronicles a group of Colombian marijuana smugglers on the run in the jungle, Variety says.

And you guessed it, Cusack will be play one of those bandits dodging the law.

FOLLOWING THE HERD: We don’t know about you, but when we think action comedy, we don’t come up with a name such as Anthony Hopkins.

Nonetheless, the “Hannibal” thesp has signed on to join Chris Rock in the action comedy “Black Sheep,” the Reporter tells us. Hopkins will play a veteran CIA agent who must work with Rock‘s character, who is enlisted to a covert operation after his twin brother is killed.

LACING UP: Comedian Paul Rodriguez will join the ever-growing cast of “Ali,” the biopic of pugilist Muhammad Ali directed by “The Insider” helmer Michael Mann, the Reporter informs. Rodriguez will play an outspoken fight physician.

GOING MAJOR: “Hilary and Jackie” actress Rachel Griffiths might star opposite Dennis Quaid in Disney’s “The Rookie,” the Reporter also relates. She would play the wife of Quaid‘s character, a high school baseball coach who makes the major leagues.