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Role Call: Hollywood’s Weekly Casting News

[IMG:L]Jolie, Pitt Eye New Projects…Just Not with Each Other
First up, Angelina Jolie to set to star alongside James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland) and Morgan Freeman in Wanted, an action film based on a graphic novel which Timur Bekmambetov will direct. McAvoy will play a young man who discovers his father was an assassin, right after finding out his dad has been murdered. A double whammy. The guy is then drafted to follow in his father’s footsteps. Jolie will play an assassin who teaches the ropes to the wannabe killer. The actress sure does like playing characters who kill for a living. Issues, maybe? Meanwhile, her boyfriend Brad Pitt is set to work with The Last King of Scotland’s director Kevin MacDonald in State of Play, the Americanized version of the acclaimed British miniseries. The film centers on the investigation of a congressman’s mistress found murdered. A team of investigative reporters secretly work with a police detective to solve the murder. Pitt will play a reporter who was once close to the congressman but now heads an investigation that leads to the highest levels of government and industry. Assassins and political intrigue–what could be better for The Jolie-Pitts?

[IMG:R]DiCaprio, Winslet Fall in Love Again
Titanic’s star-crossed lovers Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are reuniting for Revolutionary Road, a drama about post-war disillusionment. Directed by Winslet’s husband, British filmmaker Sam Mendes, who won an Oscar for American Beauty. The project is based on the 1961 novel by Richard Yates and revolves around a suburban 1950s couple tragically caught between their true desires and the pressure to conform. Sounds appropriately weepy, but I’m curious to see what Mendes and Winslet can do together, being this will be their first collaboration.

[IMG:L]Clooney Channels Grisham
Why’d he want to is a mystery to me, but George Clooney is planning to bring John Grisham’s nonfiction book The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town to the big screen, with indie filmmaker David Gordon Green in final negotiations to write and direct the movie. The book, which was published in October by Doubleday, tells the true story of Ron Williamson, a man wrongly convicted of murder who spent more than 10 years on death row in Oklahoma. Light-hearted stuff then.

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[IMG:R]Jackie Earle Haley Gets Busy
Oscar-nominated actor Jackie Earle Haley is continuing his comeback, booking a trio of projects in both the comedy and dramatic arenas. First up is a role in the Will Ferrell basketball comedy Semi-Pro, in which Haley will play a fan who wins a basketball-throwing contest. Haley then will join Kate Beckinsale, Forest Whitaker, Dakota Fanning and Guy Pearce in the drama Winged Creatures, portraying an abusive husband and angry father. Finally, Haley will shoot Bolden!, an indie drama on which Wynton Marsalis will serve as a producer. The period biopic stars Anthony Mackie as Buddy Bolden, the first man of New Orleans jazz. Haley will portray a judge at the center of most of the lucrative but corrupt activities in New Orleans. It warms your heart to see a talented actor, once cast aside as washed-up, get his comeuppance, doesn’t it?

[IMG:L]Keener, Penn Join De Niro in…Wait for It…a Comedy?
Yes, that’s correct. Catherine Keener and Robin Wright Penn are joining an all-star cast headed by Robert De Niro in the comedy What Just Happened? De Niro plays a desperate movie producer trying to survive the treachery of Hollywood and a broken second marriage. Keener will play the studio head he is courting, while Wright Penn will portray his ex-wife. Stanley Tucci, John Turturro and Kristen Stewart co-star. Bruce Willis and Sean Penn also will be featured in small roles, playing themselves. This sounds a little like the Hollywood insider movie S1m0ne, which starred Al Pacino as a producer who creates a computer-generated actress for his movie and passes her off as real. Ironically, Keener played a studio head AND Pacino’s ex-wife in that.

[IMG:R]First the Queen, Now Margaret Thatcher
And why not? The Queen was a compelling look at Queen Elizabeth II, so it makes sense to do a biopic on one of Britain’s more fascinating prime ministers, Margaret Thatcher. The film, being developed as we speak, will focus on the 17 days before the Falklands War in 1982, according to Variety. The Falklands War was a watershed in Thatcher’s career. She was deeply unpopular after her first couple of years as British prime minister, but her fortunes were transformed by the Argentine invasion of the Falklands, a British territory, and her bold decision to send a task force to the South Atlantic to recapture the islands. Here’s a casting suggestion: Judi Dench. We all know she can play tough and to see her in Thatcher’s bouffant hairdo would be quite something.

[IMG:L]Jet Li Calling for His Mummy
Jet Li is in negotiations to play the villainous title character in The Mummy 3, directed by Rob Cohen (Stealth). Although the plot details are being kept under wraps, the action will be set in China, with Li‘s story beginning in ancient times before moving to a post-World War II setting. It is also known that one sequence involves the famous terra-cotta warriors, the collection of 6,000 men and their horses that were originally constructed to protect the tomb of an emperor. A Chinese emperor brought back to life? Very cool.

[IMG:R]Murphy Heads Into Space…Again
Gabrielle Union, Ed Helms and Elizabeth Banks are joining Eddie Murphy‘s crew in the fish-out-of-water comedy Starship Dave. The film centers on a spaceship that takes the form of a human (Murphy) but is operated by 100 human-looking, quarter-inch-tall aliens seeking a way to save their planet. Complications ensue when their captain (also played by Murphy) falls in love with an Earth woman (Banks) who dates losers. Union will play the chief cultural officer of the miniature crew, while Helms is playing the diminutive crew’s uptight second-in-command. Oh, a comedic Star Trek. I get it. Let’s just hope it isn’t as bad as Murphy‘s other attempt at comedic sci-fi The Adventures of Pluto Nash.

Until next week…

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