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Role Call: Hollywood’s Weekly Casting News

[IMG:L]Gyllenhaal Heads to the Bat Cave
Maggie Gyllenhaal is in final negotiations to replace Katie Holmes in the Batman Begins sequel, The Dark KnightGyllenhaal would star as D.A. Rachel Dawes, the love interest to Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale). According to the Hollywood Reporter,  Holmes was unable to reprise her role because of scheduling conflicts. Uh-huh. I’m sure it doesn’t have anything to do with being Mrs. Tom Cruise and mother to Suri. I’m just saying. Anyway, Gyllenhaal is an excellent choice and she’ll do the part justice. And Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan agrees: “I’m extremely excited to work with an actress of Maggie‘s caliber, and she’s a great addition to the cast as we continue our story,” Nolan told the Reporter. Joining Bale and Gyllenhaal is Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman. Heath Ledger is also set as the Joker, while Aaron Eckhart will play D.A. Harvey Dent, also known as the villainous Two-Face.

[IMG:R]It’s a Boy for Indiana Jones!
Shia LaBeouf, meanwhile, is in final talks to star in Steven Spielberg‘s Indiana Jones 4 as the son of Harrison Ford‘s adventuresome archaeologist. Spielberg and George Lucas‘ Lucasfilm, which is producing Indy 4 for Paramount, is keeping the storyline under tight wraps. Dammit, I want to know what its about! But Mr. LaBeouf’s star is certainly rising since his start as kid actor in The Disney Channel’s Even Stevens and the feature film Holes. He is starring in two upcoming films, Disturbia, a teen Rear Window, and the summer tent-pole Transformers. LaBeouf will also provide the lead voice in the upcoming animated penguin movie Surf’s Up!

[IMG:L]Eastwood Changes It Up with Jolie
Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment are fast-tracking The Changeling with Clint Eastwood looking to direct–with Angelina Jolie in talks to star, Variety reports. Based on true events in 1920s Los Angeles, Jolie would play a woman whose son is abducted but retrieved. She suspects, however, that the returned child is not her kid. The woman must then confront corruption in the LAPD. Angie could play that in her sleep. No big whoop.

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[IMG:R]J.J. Goes Where No Man Has Gone Before
Well, actually there has been a few men who have gone before him, but after months of speculation, Mission: Impossible III director and Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams has signed on to shoot the next installment of the Star Trek feature franchise. Star Trek XI is a prequel that revolves around a young James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, chronicling their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and their first space mission. What fun for wunderkind Abrams! He’s got this AND Stephen King’s the Dark Towers series to look forward to.

[IMG:L]McAdams Returns
Rachel McAdams has signed on to star with Michael Pena and Tim Robbins in The Return. Now, this is not to be confused with that dreadful thriller starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, which came out last year. No, this Return is a bittersweet drama about three injured soldiers who come home from Iraq and learn that life has moved on without them. Collee (McAdams), T.K. (Pena) and Cheever (Robbins) end up on an unexpected road trip across the U.S., with Collee on a mission to bring her boyfriend’s guitar back to his family because he saved her life. T.K., meanwhile, seeks the confidence to face his wife after a shrapnel injury that threatens his sexual function, and middle-aged Cheever plans to hit the casinos in a desperate effort to pay for his son’s college tuition. I find it interesting they’ve been making Iraq war movies which center more on the soldiers returning home (or not) rather than the war itself–i.e. the been-on-the-shelf Home of the Brave and the upcoming John Cusack tear-jerker Grace Is Gone. Guess those stories are more compelling.

[IMG:R]Woody Allen Goes Spanish
Spain’s hottest film stars Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are setting up to star in Woody Allen‘s new movie, Bardem told Spain’s El Pais newspaper. Asked what role he would have in the Woody Allen feature, to be shot this summer in Barcelona, Bardem said, “It’s something of a secret. It’s (Allen‘s) philosophy and the way he works. I can’t talk about almost any of it but Woody Allen works via improvisation in many respects. The script I have read will be open, I imagine, to many changes.” He added, “I like the creation of characters…and of different ways of seeing life, but Allen forces you to go back to the beginning in a way, to tell a story. At the moment that appeals to me a lot.” Allen is surprising me more and more, branching out they way he has. This one sounds entirely promising.

[IMG:L]Don’t Worry, Harry Isn’t Going Anywhere
Halleluiah! Daniel Radcliffe has signed up for the final two films in the seven-part Harry Potter series. The 17-year-old, who has just won rave reviews for his performance in Peter Shaffer’s controversial play Equus (in which he gets naked of all things), will start filming the sixth movie based on the bestselling books by J.K. Rowling in September,Variety reports. Since being tagged to play the boy wizard in 2001, we’ve watched him grow and saw the hit franchise, which continues in July with the fifth installment Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, amass around $3.5 billion globally at the box office and turned the teenager into a multi-millionaire. Rowling recently announced that the seventh and final book in the series, called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be published on July 21, but it is not clear when the film version will be made. Just so long as Danny boy will be there.

[IMG:R]Lee Loves the Chipmunks
My Name Is Earl star Jason Lee has joined the cast of Alvin and the Chipmunks, which is suppose to come out sometime in December. He’ll play the Chipmunks’ dad, Dave Seville, while chipmunks Alvin, Simon and Theodore will be computer-generated. The story will focus on the trio’s origins as helium-voiced singing sensations. I don’t have to best feeling about this, having had to experience the Garfield series, but you never know. It could work.

Until next week…

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