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Role Call: Hollywood’s Weekly Casting News

[IMG:L]Edward Norton as The Hulk
I know it’s kinda old news, but I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the idea. The details are Edward Norton has been set by Marvel Studios to play Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk. Of course, the first Hulk movie with Eric Bana and directed by Ang Lee was a bit of a flop as comic book-turned-movies go. But the Louis Leterrier-directed sequel will be less self-serious and more in line with the comic series and TV show. Now, in my opinion, a couple of things must be have happened to get Norton to this point: 1) The script must be pretty good. Norton prides himself on choosing quality projects–and with films such as American History X and Primal Fear, and his most recent The Illusionist and The Painted Veil, under his belt, he’s done a good job at it. However, the Hulk’s script is by Zak Penn, who had a hand in crafting two X-Men films, Fantastic Four and Elektra for Marvel. Not the greatest of recommendations. And 2) Norton might just want to try his hand at mainstream cinema. Maybe he liked the dollar signs. Maybe he’s a big fan of The Hulk. Maybe he looks good in green. Whatever the reasons, with Norton’s participation, this Hulk should be, at the very least, an intellectual thrill ride.

[IMG:R]Speaking of Eric Bana… 
The former Incredible Hulk and Rachel McAdams are set to play time-challenged lovers in The Time Traveler’s Wife. Based on the Audrey Niffenegger novel, the story revolves around a dashing librarian (Bana) at Chicago’s Newberry Library who has a gene that causes him to travel back and forth in time involuntarily. During one of his episodes, he falls in love with a woman (McAdams), but the problem is that while the man’s age changes constantly depending on his location in time, the woman’s progresses in a normal manner; thus, the two are often out of sync. Well, that’s different, but I’m really liking the sounds of it.

[IMG:L]Owen Becomes Obsessed
Clive Owen has signed on to star in the thriller The International. Directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), the story centers on an obsessive Interpol agent (Owen) who spearheads an investigation into one of the world’s most high-profile and powerful banking institutions in an attempt to expose its role in worldwide arms brokering, corruption and murder. His efforts quickly turn into a deeper obsession when he comes up against more resistance by the law enforcement system he serves. Right up Clive’s alley.

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[IMG:R]Pitt Joins Old Pal Clooney on Coen Bro Flick
Brad Pitt has signed on to join his Ocean’s Thirteen co-star George Clooney in the Coen brothers’ black comedy Burn After Reading. The project, which also stars Frances McDormand, centers on a CIA agent who loses the disc of the book he is writing. But like the film’s title, the screenplay is shrouded in secrecy. No matter. Don’t you just love the fact you don’t have to say their actual names. Just labelling something “a Coen brothers” movie says it all.

[IMG:L]Streep Doubts Hoffman
Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman will star in writer-director John Patrick Shanley‘s feature adaptation of his Broadway hit Doubt. In the role originated by the Tony-winning Cherry Jones (a M. Night Shyamalan regular) on Broadway, Streep will play Sister Aloysius, a nun and principal of a New York Catholic school who accuses a priest (Hoffman) of sexually abusing one of his students, leading to an escalating debate over his guilt or innocence. I smell Oscars.

[IMG:R]Lost’s Lilly Joins the Big Time
Evangeline Lilly, the lovely but ultimately screwed-up Kate on TV’s Lost, will make her feature debut starring opposite John Malkovich, of all people, in the supernatural thriller Afterwards. French filmmaker Gilles Bourdos will direct the Canadian-French co-production from an adaptation of the Guillaume Musso novel Et apres … French actor Romain Duris will portray a workaholic lawyer drifting away from his ex-wife (Lilly) and daughter. He meets a mysterious doctor (Malkovich) who claims to have the power to predict people’s deaths. That’s all well and good, but I’m just excited Hollywood.com will finally have a celeb record for Evangeline.

[IMG:L]James Takes on the Nation
With his sitcom The King of Queens all wrapped up, Kevin James is setting his sights on making more movies. First up is his comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, in which he co-stars with Adam Sandler as firefighters who pretend to be in a gay relationship to get health benefits, which opens in July. James also recently signed to star in One Nation Under Bob. The project follows an average guy who inherits a plot of land only to discover that it is a country unto itself and he is now the owner of a sovereign nation. I’m laughing already.

[IMG:R]Columbus Gets Back to Basics
Chris Columbus is in negotiations to direct the family fantasy The Lightning Thief, his first movie since his flop, the musical Rent. Thief is the first novel in Rick Riordan’s best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and centers on a young boy who discovers that he is the descendant of a Greek god. He sets out — with the help of a satyr and a daughter of Athena — on a dangerous adventure to settle an ongoing battle between the gods. Along the way, he faces a host of mythological enemies determined to stop him. He also must come to terms with a father he has never known and an oracle that has warned him of betrayal by a friend. Columbus, who has successfully guided many a family film, including Home Alone and the first two Harry Potters, is much better suited for this kind of material. Besides, Greek mythology rocks!

Until next week…

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