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Role Call: Hollywood’s Casting News

[IMG:L]Bevy of Actors Replace Ledger in Gilliam Film
Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law have stepped into the character the late Heath Ledger was playing in the Terry Gilliam film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, according to Reuters. They will all play the role of Tony in the fantasy film which Ledger had been filming before his death. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is described as a fantastical morality tale about a traveling theatre company which can control the imagination of others. It was not immediately clear how the role will be reconstructed for three actors–but it sure sounds intriguing. The one thing you can say about Gilliam is he thinks differently than most.

[IMG:R]Adams Joins Stiller in the Museum 
Amy Adams is in negotiations to star opposite Ben Stiller in Night at the Museum 2. Well, of course they are doing a sequel since the first one did so well. The sequel kicks off when the artifacts from the Museum of Natural History are boxed up and sent to the archives at the Smithsonian in Washington. Adams will play an undetermined historical figure who has a crush on security guard Larry (Stiller), which should suit the actress just fine. Hank Azaria is also set to play an Egyptian pharaoh. Azaria will be a hoot. Shawn Levy returns to helm the sequel, which has a U.S. release date set for May 22, 2009.

[IMG:L]Swank Flies the Big Blue Skies 
Hilary Swank is set to play aviatrix Amelia Earhart in Amelia, a biopic that will be directed by Mira Nair. Although there have been a few television biopics, there’s really never been a feature film on Earhart, who, in my opinion, is certainly as film worthy as Howard Hughes. The film follows Earhart in the formative stages of her career. George Putnam, a publisher and publicist, was engaged by society denizen Amy Guest to set up a daring nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. When Guest was talked out of trying to become the first woman to make the trip, she dispatched Putnam to find a female pilot, and to turn the flight into a media event. Swank should probably squeeze another Oscar nod out of this, just so long as she can cut her hair short.

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[IMG:R]Smith Gains Seven Pounds; Mortensen Hits the Road 
Will Smith is set to star in Seven Pounds, which follows a suicidal IRS agent (Smith) who assumes the identity of his younger brother (played by Sleeper Cell’s Michael Ealy). His plans are complicated when he falls in love. Yeah, that would complicate things a bit. Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson are in the cast as well. Meanwhile, Viggo Mortensen is set to star in The Road, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winner novel. The tale is about a months-long journey across a barren U.S. landscape after a cataclysmic event has destroyed most of life on Earth. Charlize Theron and Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee, as Mortensen’s son, co-star. If it stars Mortensen, another Road Warrior wouldn’t be half bad.

[IMG:L]Sarsgaard, Thompson Get An Education 
Peter Sarsgaard will play a predatory lothario in An Education, a coming-of-age drama also starring Alfred Molina and Emma Thompson. Writer Nick Hornby (About a Boy) adapted the screenplay from a memoir by British journalist Lynn Barber, published in literary magazine Granta. The story revolves around a 17-year-old girl (Carey Mulligan) living in the quiet London suburbs. As the swinging ’60s culture emerges, her world turns upside down after she meets a 35-year-old sports car-driving Brit (Sarsgaard). He courts her with dinners and foreign trips, charming her father (Molina) but jeopardizing her plans to study at Oxford University. Thompson plays her disapproving headmistress. Although the script sounds clichéd, the likes of Sarsgaard, Thompson and Hornby attached could make it a winner.

[IMG:R]Blunt’s the New It Girl
Emily Blunt is in talks to star in The Girl, a feature about immigration and maternal bonding. The movie focuses on a Texas woman (Blunt) who through a chance encounter finds the young daughter of an illegal immigrant who has become separated from her mother. Saddled with a child she doesn’t wish to care for, the woman then searches for the child’s mother, a quest that takes her south of the border. Blunt is doing this after playing the Queen Victoria in The Young Victoria and a biohazard removal/crime scene cleaner-upper in Sunshine Cleaning –nice change of pace, don’t you think?

[IMG:L]Reeves, Gyllenhaal Lead Private Lives
Keanu Reeves, Maggie GyllenhaalAlan Arkin and Monica Bellucci have joined the all-star cast of The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, from writer-director Rebecca Miller. Adapted by Miller (the daughter of playwright Arthur Miller and wife of Daniel Day-Lewis) from her forthcoming novel, the comedy-drama “centers on a dutiful 50-year-old wife whose husband falls for a younger woman, freeing her to explore her buried sensuality and leading to a very quiet nervous breakdown,” she told VarietyRobin Wright Penn already is on board as the title character. Julianne Moore and Winona Ryder have been cast as well. Arkin plays the husband who leaves Wright Penn for Ryder. Bellucci will play his first wife. Reeves will play Wright Penn‘s younger lover, while Gyllenhaal plays Wright Penn‘s diet-pill-addicted mother in flashback sequences. Moore portrays a lesbian novelist. And there you have the movie, folks.

[IMG:R]Bell Goes to Rome
Cutie pie Kristen Bell–the former star of TV series Veronica Mars and current wacky villainess on Heroes–has signed on to the romantic comedy feature When in Rome. She will play a love-starved New York curator who steals magical coins from a famous Roman fountain but soon finds herself in a bizarre situation when she is pursued back to New York by a band of aggressive suitors–the very people whose coins she took. Now, THAT sounds like a promising premise.

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