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Role Call: Hollywood’s Weekly Casting News

[IMG:L]Cruise, Stiller Are Hardy Men
I’m really going to have to see this one to believe it. Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise are in talks to star in The Hardy Men, playing the once-famous boy sleuths all grown up. Directed by Shawn Levy, the action comedy based on mystery series The Hardy Boys revolves around the brothers, once wunderkind youth sleuths, who have grown up long estranged from each other. But of course, they’re brought together to solve one last case. According to Variety, Cruise and Stiller have been friends for years–an alliance that grew out of Cruise’s admiration for Stiller’s penchant for doing an impersonation of the actor (Stiller is dead-on), which started on The Ben Stiller Show. It’ll be good for Cruise’s image to do some comedy, even if it is a movie about the Hardy boys. Stiller should teach him a thing or two.

[IMG:R]Wahlberg, Damon Duke It Out Again
The Departed foes Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon are reuniting as brothers in the boxing saga The Fighter. Based on the life of boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward (Wahlberg) and his trainer brother Dick Eklund (Damon), the project chronicles their early days on the rough streets of Lowell, Mass., through Eklund’s battle with drugs and Ward’s eventual world championship. “I’ve been dying to do a boxing movie my whole career,” one-time street fighter Wahlberg said in a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter. “I’ve been close to doing two, and they kinda fell apart, but it’s something I’m very excited about.” Makes sense.

[IMG:L]Macy, Ryan Make a Deal
William H. Macy and Meg Ryan will star in The Deal, based on Peter Lefcourt’s comedic novel about Hollywood. Macy co-wrote the script with his longtime collaborator Steven Schachter (The Wool Cap, Door to Door), who’s directing. Macy will play a down-on-his-luck Hollywood producer who cons a major studio into financing a $100 million action adventure script about 19th century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. When the leading man gets kidnapped, and the picture is shut down, the producer and a Hollywood studio exec use the studio’s blocked funds to make a completely different picture without telling the studio. The film is a passion project for Macy, who’s spent the last two years raising the almost $8 million budget with all non-Hollywood investors. It’s a common lament in the biz, but it’ll be interesting to see Macy’s take on it. Just hope Ryan doesn’t ruin it.

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[IMG:R]Roberts, Moss Catch Fireflies
Julia Roberts and Carrie-Anne Moss have signed on to star in the ensemble drama Fireflies in the Garden, with Emily Watson and Ryan Reynolds are in negotiations to join as well. The independent project marks the directing debut of student Academy Award winner Dennis Lee, who also wrote the script. Loosely based on Lee’s life, the story explores the complexities of love and commitment in a family torn apart when faced with an unexpected tragedy. I can feel a yawn coming on.

[IMG:L]Buscemi, Miller Make Out
Steve Buscemi and Sienna Miller will star in a new film exploring the relationship between the media and celebrities in the remake of slain director Theo van Gogh’s Dutch film Interview. Van Gogh, an outspoken critic of Islam who was murdered in 2004 by a Dutch-Moroccan militant, planned to adapt a trilogy of films for Hollywood before he was killed, of which Interview was the first. Buscemi, who also directs the new version, plays a world-weary reporter called Pierre who reluctantly accepts an assignment from his editor to interview Katya, a trashy horror film star. The two fall out, but a twist of fate brings them back together in Katya’s apartment and they go on to talk, argue, kiss and share their darkest secrets. Hmmm, having a tough time wrapping my brain around this odd on-screen pairing, but it might be interesting. The next of the Van Gogh trilogy to be remade is Blind Date, by actor-turned-director Stanley Tucci.

[IMG:R]Finally, A The Dark Tower Movie!
Stephen King and J.J. Abrams are in talks to bring King‘s Dark Tower book series to life. In what format, however, remains to be seen. King‘s tale—which sprawls across seven books as it blends the fantasy, sci-fi, horror and Western genres—would seem better suited for a multiple-episode television treatment, much like King’s The Stand. On the other hand, its potential cost might call for a large-scale cinematic treatment. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter a number of entities have been chasing Tower but that King is looking for strong filmmaker involvement, which is why he trusts Lost’s Abrams. In a sort of mutual admiration society, King and Abrams have been each other’s fans for quite a awhile. Abrams, along with the other Lost co-creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, has said Lost is heavily influenced by the author, while King isn’t shy about admitting he’s a huge fan of the show. I’m right there with them, and my suggestion would be to do this as feature films. The Dark Tower books are far too steeped in cool imagery to be seen as effectively on TV. 

[IMG:L]Haas Terrorizes Basinger
Lukas Haas (Alpha Dog) has joined the cast of While She Was Out, a real-time thriller starring Kim Basinger. Haas will play the leader of a gang of kids who terrorize Basinger in the woods after she witnesses a murder. Rounding out the gang are Jamie Starr (Stomp the Yard), Leonard Wu (the CW’s Veronica Mars) and Luis Chavez (Ocean’s Thirteen). I’m not sure what real-time means, but this sound efficiently creepy.

[IMG:R]Eckhart Joins Dark Knight; Weaver Heads to Avatar
Joining director Christopher Nolan, along with Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Heath Ledger as the Joker, Aaron Eckhart is in final negotiations to play Harvey Dent/Two-Face in The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins. In Batman lore, Dent is the district attorney of Gotham City and an ally of Batman. After half his face is disfigured by acid, Dent becomes the insane crime boss known as Two-Face, who chooses to do good or evil by flipping a coin. Tommy Lee Jones played the character in 1995’s Batman Forever. Meanwhile, Sigourney Weaver is re-teaming with director her Aliens director James Cameron for a role in his upcoming sci-fi adventure Avatar. In the CGI-intensive film, which will be shot in 3-D, Weaver will play veteran explorer Grace, who serves as a mentor to Worthington’s character Jake, a wounded former Marine who leads his indigenous race in an interplanetary battle for survival.

The Story of Milli Vanilli
Disgraced pop duo Milli Vanilli will soon get a movie made about their less-than-spectacular career. Yep, you’re heard me. Variety reports a film is being developing about the lip-synching combo, who lost their coveted Grammy for best new artist in 1990 when it was discovered that they never actually sung on their records. The project will be written and directed by Jeff Nathanson, who previously wrote the Leonardo DiCaprio crime caper Catch Me If You Can. He has secured the cooperation of Milli Vanilli alumnus Fabrice Morvan, who has been pursuing a comeback for years, as well as the estate of his colleague, Rob Pilatus, who died of a drug overdose in 1998. “I’ve always been fascinated by the notion of fakes and frauds, and in this case, you had guys who pulled off the ultimate con, selling 30 million singles and 11 million albums and then becoming the biggest laughing-stocks of pop entertainment,” Nathanson told Variety. A feature film? I’m thinking maybe for VH1 or MTV, but I can’t see something like this making it to be big screen. Then again, I could be wrong, especially if they get some A-listers to star. Let’s see…Will Smith and Jamie Foxx?

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Until next week…

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