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Role Call: Hollywood’s Weekly Casting News

[IMG:L]Tyler Goes Green
Liv Tyler has signed on to play Betty Ross, the longtime love interest of Dr. Bruce Banner/the Hulk, in The Incredible Hulk. Ross, a classic Hulk character from the comic book’s beginning in 1962, is Banner’s fellow scientist and an ally in his quest to rid him of his lurking monster deep inside. The movie will unfold with Ross estranged from Banner (Edward Norton), but with the pursuit of the Hulk heating up and Banner on the run trying to cure his condition, Ross finds herself swept back into his life. Jennifer Connelly, who played the character in the original 2003 movie, looked sorely out of place. Tyler seems like a better fit, although it may still be hard to buy her stint as a scientist.

[IMG:R]Another Comedy from Tim Allen 
I don’t always appreciate Tim Allen comedies, but he keeps making them regardless of my opinion. Maybe that’s because he rakes in the cash hand over fist each time he headlines one. The latest comedy being developed for the actor isYosemite Three, in which Allen plays a corporate employee who heads off on a company retreat. Bored with a mandated nature hike, he and two others hole up in a bar and are reported missing in Yosemite National Park. They longer they stay missing, the more popular they become in news reports. That just doesn’t seem at all funny to me, but Allen will likely make the most of it–and be rewarded handsomely at the box office.

[IMG:L]Witherspoon Puts Her Producing Hat On
Reese Witherspoon‘s Type A Films is developing Under the Bridge, based on Rebecca Godfrey’s true-crime account of a brutal high school murder. The story chronicles the 1997 killing of high school student Reena Virk in a small British Columbia town as well as the ensuing investigation and prosecution. Godfrey, who’s from the same area, returned to her hometown to research the eight high schoolers who were charged in the case, investigating the cliques at the group’s well-off school as well as the life of Virk, the daughter of Indian immigrants. Two of the students were convicted in 2005. Thirteen helmer Catherine Hardwicke is in talks to direct the film, which makes sense. These River’s Edge-type stories really do give me the creeps, especially knowing they are true.

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[IMG:R]Clooney’s CIA Obsession
George Clooney and his Smoke House partner Grant Heslov will co-write a dramedy for Escape From Tehran, which details how the CIA, with help from Hollywood, used a fake movie project to smuggle a handful of Americans out of Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. According to Variety, Clooney  may direct the project for Warner Bros. Based on Joshuah Berman’s Wired magazine article, the story centers around CIA operative Tony Mendez, a master of disguise who was put in charge of rescuing six Americans hiding out in Tehran. He came up with the idea of using a bogus movie and contacted Hollywood makeup artist John Chambers. Chambers and Bob Sidell, also a makeup artist, launched Studio Six Prods. (an allusion to the six Americans awaiting rescue) and announced their first movie project, to be shot in Iran. At the time, both Variety and the Hollywood Reporter were duped into writing news stories on the film after Studio Six took out trade ads. Mendez went to Tehran in January 1980 and told the Americans to pretend they were Canadians on a scouting trip for a big-budget Hollywood epic. The ruse worked. It’s Wag the Dog to the nth degree. Sign me up!

[IMG:L]Miller, Murphy Get Ready to Shake; Cusack Doesn’t Know When to Stop
Sienna Miller and Cillian Murphynwill star in the British counterculture comedy-drama Hippie Hippie Shake. The story is based on Richard Neville’s account of his misadventures in London at the end of the swinging ’60s. Anthony Minghella (Art School Confidential) and newcomer Emma Booth will also star. Sounds a bit Austin Powers-ish, isn’t it? Meanwhile, John Cusack is attached to star in director Jan de Bont’s indie action thriller Stopping Power. Cusack  will play a test pilot who sets off on a series of high-speed chases to save his kidnapped daughter from an escaped thief. Hmmm. Although de Bont is a fairly capable action director (Twister, Speed), I’m just not seeing Cusack  as an action hero. This is much more suited for Nicolas Cage.

[IMG:R]Don’t Go Near The Ruins; Harnett Plays in Rain
Laura Ramsey, Jena Malone and Shawn Ashmore have made it to The Ruins, a thriller based on the bestselling Scott B. Smith novel. The project revolves around a group of friends on a leisurely Mexican holiday that takes a turn for the worse when a go-getter pre-med student (Jonathan Tucker) persuades them to accompany a fellow tourist on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle, where something evil lives among the ruins. Ohhh, evil IN the ruins. What a novel idea! Meanwhile, Josh Hartnett will star in I Come with the Rain, a drama that will shoot in Hong Kong. He’ll play a private detective who, haunted by a past encounter with a serial killer, heads for the Far East to search for a missing heir with the power to heal with his touch. Sounds like another winner for the actor. No, not really.

[IMG:L]My Best Friend’s Wedding, Part II
OK, so this one is My Best Friend’s Wedding in reverse. Sydney Pollack, Kadeem Hardison and Beau Garrettare joining Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan in the romantic comedy Made of Honor. The story revolves around Tom (Dempsey ) and Claire (Monaghan), who have been platonic friends for 10 years. He’s a serial dater, while she wants marriage but hasn’t found Mr. Right. Just as Tom is starting to think that he is relationship material after all, Claire gets engaged. When she asks Tom to be her “maid” of honor, he reluctantly agrees just so he can attempt to stop the wedding and woo her. Pollack will play the father of Dempsey ‘s character, while Hardison  and Garrett  are cast in supporting roles. Here’s betting McDreamy gets the girl in the end.

Until next week…

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