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Role Call: Hollywood’s Weekly Casting News

[IMG:L]Portman Eyes Director’s Chair
Could Natalie Portman be the latest star to focus her attention behind the camera? According to Reuters, Portman has expressed interest in directing a film version of Amos Oz’s internationally acclaimed autobiography, A Tale of Love and Darkness, which describes the Israeli writer’s upbringing in Jerusalem when the Jewish state was founded. Israeli media reports Portman was interested in playing Oz’s mother, who committed suicide when the author was a youth. Sounds like something that would be close to Portman’s heart, who was born in Jerusalem. Unless Portman is forced to say trite dialogue a la Star Wars trilogy, I think she’ll be able to helm a film like a pro.

[IMG:R]Sandler’s Next Hit Comedy
Adam Sandler is teaming up with The 40 Year-Old Virgin’s director/writer Judd Apatow and Saturday Night Live’s Robert Smigel for the comedy You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. The project follows the exploits of an Israeli Mossad agent who fakes his death so he can anonymously move to New York and become a hair stylist. Smigel, the creator of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, also writes the ribald animated sketch “The Ambiguously Gay Duo,” among others, for Saturday Night Live’s “TV Funhouse.” A recipe for another box office Sandler bonanza, I would say. Wonder when Sandler and Ben Stiller are going to make a movie together? Sure, Stiller played a sadistic orderly in a nursing home in Happy Gilmore–uncredited, by the way—but that doesn’t really count. We need to get these two mega-comedy buddies together. Of course, watch it happens and the film just bombs.

[IMG:L]Beckinsale Corrects Mistakes with Whiteout
OK, so I lied a little. The action thriller Whiteout, which Kate Beckinsale has signed to star in, isn’t actually a movie about a super-fast typist living life large in the ‘70s. It’s actually based on Greg Rucka’s comic book miniseries and revolves around a lone U.S. marshal who is investigating Antarctica’s first murder. With only three days until winter, she must solve the crime before the continent is plunged into darkness and she is stranded with the killer. Dominic Sena will direct. I like the secretary idea better.

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[IMG:R]Bosworth Is a Busy Girl
Kate Bosworth, Superman’s love Lois Lane, has few things in the works. First up, she is in talks to join to star in the supernatural thriller After.Life. That’s clever, using the period in the title. The story centers on a young woman in a transitional state between life and death who fights to avoid being buried alive by a funeral director. Yikes. Bosworth is also entering the producing arena, acquiring the rights to the novel Lost Girls and Love Hotels. She plans to star in and produce the adaptation, about a woman trying to forget her past while working in Tokyo as an English specialist at a flight attendant school by day while losing herself in a sex- and drug-addled oblivion by night. And then finally, for the untitled blackjack picture previously known as 21, Bosworth joins Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne and Jim Sturgess in a story revolving around a group of brilliant math students at MIT. The students are organized by an unscrupulous professor (Spacey) into a team of crack card counters at blackjack tables in Las Vegas. Bosworth will play an unsuspecting geek who joins the team. The film will be directed by Robert Luketic.

[IMG:L]Sutherland Checks Himself in Mirrors
Kiefer Sutherland will spend his 24 hiatus starring in Mirrors, a supernatural thriller to be directed by The Hills Have EyesAlexandre Aja. In this story, Sutherland will play an ex-cop who works security at a mall and discovers something awry in the mirrors of a department store. Ah, yes, the evil in mirrors. Have you ever tried something on in those department store dressing rooms? All bad.

[IMG:R]Brody, Kikuchi Join Bloom 
Brick screenwriter-director Rian Johnson has cast Adrien Brody and Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi to join Rachel Weisz in The Brothers Bloom, an international con-man adventure. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Brody will play the younger brother in a veteran team of con men who falls for a mysterious millionairess (Weisz). Kikuchi—recently nominated for her haunting portrayal of a deaf teenager in Babel–will play the brothers’ sexy and secretive accomplice. Weisz isn’t new to the con-man genre, having starred with Edward Burns in the tightly wound Confidence. I’m a sucker for a good con-man movie.

[IMG:L]The New Kids in America
Anna Faris and Tony-winning actor Dan Fogler will join Topher Grace in the comedy Kids in America, set during a raucous Labor Day party in 1988. Grace will play a recent college graduate, while Faris will star as his twin sister. Fogler, meanwhile, will play Grace‘s best friend. Teresa Palmer (The Grudge 2) is also on board as the girl of Grace‘s dreams. Sounds a little like the raunchy comedy Eurotrip–well, at least, the twin part.

[IMG:R]Wolfman Gets a Remake
Mark Romanek, who wrote and directed the tense indie One Hour Photo, has been hired to bring a remake of classic The Wolfman to the big screen, with Benicio Del Toro attached to star. The movie will hew to the period pedigree of the 1941 original, in which a man returns from the U.S. to his ancestral home in Victorian-era Great Britain, gets bitten by a werewolf and begins a hairy moonlight existence. Del Toro as the Wolfman, huh? I see some symmetry to that.

Until next week…

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