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Role Call: Hollywood’s Weekly Casting News

[IMG:L]Tobey and Jake Are Brothers 
Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal are in negotiations to star in Jim Sheridan‘s Brothers. The film, a remake of Susanne Bier’s Danish-language war drama, centers on a man (Maguire) who is sent to fight in Afghanistan while his black-sheep brother (Gyllenhaal) cares for his wife and child. And no doubt complications ensure. What’s intriguing me about this one is seeing Maguire and Gyllenhaal onscreen together. Gyllenhaal was close to winning the Spider-Man role after Maguire initially rejected the idea. But then Maguire changed his mind. Wonder if there are any lingering bad feelings?

[IMG:R]Field Tackles Lincoln Role
Sally Field, who wasn’t shy about her feeling towards the war when her Emmy acceptance speech was bleeped-out, is attached to play Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg‘s long-gestating biopic Lincoln. The troubled Mrs. Lincoln bore the president four sons, only two of whom survived into adulthood. Based on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, the film is expected to focus on the 16th president’s role in leading the North in the Civil War. Liam Neeson will play Lincoln. Previous reports had Marcia Gay Harden as a possibility to play Lincoln’s wife. Either Field or Harden could do it. I smell Oscars already.

[IMG:L]Speaking of Oscars… 
Ben Kingsley will play William Shakespeare in a movie based on the newly published novel Will, which revolves around the Bard’s deathbed meeting with his lawyer to discuss his last will and testament. I hope there will be flashbacks. Kingsley is also apparently set to star as the Mughal emperor who built the Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved wife. Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai will play emperor Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz Mahal, upon whose death the devastated ruler built the Taj in 1648. “The movie is on the building of the Taj Mahal,” Kingsley told the Times of India, adding the romance will also include Shah Jahan’s abject isolation for years in a prison cell. In his last years, the emperor was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb, and is said to have spent his remaining days gazing at the Taj from his prison cell in a nearby fort. How sad. And how perfect for Kingsley.

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[IMG:R]Allen Gets Six Wives 
Jenna Elfman has joined the cast of the indie feature The Six Wives of Henry Lefay, which stars Tim Allen and a wide array of actresses. Allen plays a man whose wife and five ex-wives–ranging in age from 25 to 55–fight over his will when they believe he is dead. Elfman is playing his second wife, who is also his fourth wife, a small-town diva. Andie MacDowell, Paz VegaKelli Garner and S. Epatha Merkerson are playing the other spouses. Elisha Cuthbert is playing Allen’s unmarried daughter. Wow, that’s a wide variety of women. Good for Tim Allen.

[IMG:L]Duff Gets an Interracial Romance
Pop singer Hilary Duff plays the title character in the interracial teen romance Greta. She’ll play a waitress who falls for an ambitious cook (Evan Ross) at the restaurant where they work. But as their summer romance heats up, she has to overcome the concerns of her grandparents (Ellen Burstyn, Michael Murphy) about her boyfriend’s criminal past. I guess the interracial romance part is what makes this compelling. That and Hilary Duff, I suppose. Hmmm.

[IMG:R]Macy, Hines Get a Room 
William H. Macy and Cheryl Hines will play bickering parents in the indie coming-of-age comedy Bart Got a Room. Steven Kaplan makes his feature debut as the title character, a nerdy high school senior living in a Florida retirement community with his parents. He struggles to find a prom date with the help of his best friend (Alia Shawkat). Again, pretty slim on plot. Can’t they come up with anything better than this?

Purefoy Grabs His Sword
James Purefoy, who was oh-so-smokin’ as Mark Antony on HBO’s Rome, has been cast as puritan swordsman Solomon Kane in a movie of the same name to be made from the stories of Conan the Barbarian creator Robert E. Howard. Kane is a 16th century soldier who learns that his brutal and cruel actions have damned him but is determined to redeem himself by living peaceably. But he finds himself dragged out of retirement for a fight against evil. Damn it, they are always dragging these guys out of retirement for one last fight. It never works out the way they want it to.

Until next week…

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