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Role Call: Hollywood’s Weekly Casting News

[IMG:L]Will Smith as a Bad Guy?
Well, I guess he had to try it sometime. Will Smith will star in Tonight, He Comes, a “superhero love story”—so says director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights), who told Entertainment Weekly Smith “plays a womanizing, alcoholic, chain-smoking” crime fighter with “image problems.” Berg continued, “He’s an angry dude. Will is usually the nice guy. This is his opportunity to stretch.” Yeah, but it sounds like he’s an anti-hero of sort, so he can’t be ALL bad. You know, the R-rated guy you’re just not quite sure about. Smith’s love interest will be played by…wait for it…Charlize Theron, whose character is married to Arrested Development’s Jason Bateman. In other Smith news, he’s also producing a biopic on tennis legend Arthur Ashe, starring Nick CannonEW reports. My interest is piqued by both films, I must say.

[IMG:R]Crowe Might Play Evil, Too
Universal Pictures won a heated bidding war for a revisionist take on the legend of Robin Hood with Russell Crowe attached to play the Sheriff of Nottingham. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the script revolves around Crowe‘s character’s investigation of a series of murders in which Robin Hood is the suspect. High-wattage directors such as Ridley Scott, Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi are also angling for the project, which the studio wants to put into production by year’s end. Wonder if the sheriff character is actually evil or not in this new take. In the original story, you remember, the Sheriff of Nottingham has it out for Robin Hood, whose altruistic thievery bug the sheriff to no end. So, in this version, is Robin Hood killing bad people for the good of the common man, thwarting the sheriff at every turn? Hmm.

[IMG:L]Rudd, Scott Are Big Brothers
Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott have signed on to star in Big Brothers, a comedy being directed by Luke Greenfield. It centers on two deviously wild beer-company reps, who, in order to keep their jobs after their freewheeling behavior gets them into trouble, must do community service and become mentors in the Big Brother program. “These guys are the absolute worst big brothers because they are giving horribly immoral advice to their teenage ‘little brothers,”‘ Greenfield told the Hollywood Reporter, adding that there will be a nationwide search to find the kid actors. Rudd seems to have found his niche in the whole raunchy comedy milieu. Remember him as the college guy Alicia Silverstone falls for in Clueless or the object of Jennifer Aniston’s affection in Object of My Affection? Guess after Anchorman and The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Rudd doesn’t want to play cute anymore.

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[IMG:R]Mendes Wants to Be Clean; Hoskins Waits for Doomsday
Eva Mendes and Samuel L. Jackson have signed onto the thriller Cleaner, directed by Renny Harlin. Also signed on is Ed Harris and Keke Palmer. The story centers on a former cop (Jackson) who makes his living cleaning up crime scenes. After cleaning a murder site, he discovers that the crime was never reported to the police and that he has unwittingly covered up a homicide. Mendes will play the widow of the slain man, who turns to Jackson for help. Strike one: Regurgitated stuff. Strike two: Jackson is probably just doing it for the paycheck. And strike three: It’s being directed by Renny Harlin. Meanwhile, Bob Hoskins is joining the cast of screenwriter-director Neil Marshall‘s Doomsday, an action thriller about attempts to quarantine a lethal virus. Hoskins will play a policeman who monitors the progress of the team, headed by Rhona Mitra, which is attempting to produce a cure. Um, the same three strikes apply, except strike three is Doomsday is a really bad title.

The Departed: The Sequel
Huh? Didn’t most of the major characters already, er, depart in the first one? Who’s left to follow? Oh wait, that’s right. Mark Wahlberg’s temperamental foul-mouthed cop remained standing, as did Matt Damon AND Leonardo DiCaprio’s pregnant girlfriend, played by Vera Farmiga. Apparently, director Martin Scorsese thinks that’s enough. He’s in talks to put together a sequel to the crime thriller, which according to the Hollywood Reporter, would involve Dignam, played by Wahlberg (who received an Oscar nomination for the role) and introduce a new character to be played by Robert De Niro. A prequel is not being ruled out, either. Departed is an adaptation of the Hong Kong smash hit Infernal Affairs (not to be confused with Internal Affairs), which is regarded as The Godfather of Asian cinema. They did a 2003 sequel/prequel, much like The Godfather 2, and a third movie, which combined elements of the first two movies. Ah, I see the progression then.

[IMG:L]Harold and Kumar Take Another Ride
And the pot-smoking duo are bringing a bunch of friends with them. David Krumholtz, Neil Patrick Harris, Rob Corddry, Christopher Meloni, Ed Helms, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Paula Garces, Jack Conley, Roger Bart, Danneel Harris and Eric Winter will join John Cho and Kal Penn in Harold & Kumar 2. The sequel is set in motion on the same morning that Harold and Kumar finally satisfy their munchies at White Castle and the object of Harold’s affection, Maria (Garces), sets off for Amsterdam. The pair decides to pursue her so Harold can proclaim his love. But when an overzealous passenger mistakes Kumar for a terrorist, the plane is diverted and the boys are off on a new escapade of mistaken identity. From Guantanamo Bay through the Deep South, Harold and Kumar encounter myriad whackos, jerks and whores as they are pursued by the Department of Homeland Security all the way into Bush Country. Oh good lord. All I want to know is, are they going to get stoned again? If not, what’s the point?

Until next week…

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