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Role Call: Hollywood’s Weekly Casting News

[IMG:L]Some Lovely Bones
I’m really liking the sounds of this. Ryan Gosling will join Rachel Weisz in Peter Jackson‘s The Lovely Bones. Based on Alice Sebold’s best-selling and completely mesmerizing novel, the story is told through the voice of 13-year-old Susie Salmon, who is murdered but continues to observe her family on Earth after her death. Removed from the world she once knew, Susie witnesses the impact of her loss on her loved ones, while her killer skillfully covers his tracks and prepares to murder again. Gosling will star as Susie’s father while Weisz will play the mother, a role that Jackson and his writing team of Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh are expanding in their DreamWorks adaptation. The role of Susie has yet to be cast. But what makes this really exciting is the fact Gosling has decided to sign up. The Canadian-born actor, who nabbed his first Oscar nomination this past year for his star turn in the indie Half Nelson, is notorious for being very selective in what he does and has pooh-poohed several big-budget studio films. That’s precisely why I love him. Along with Jackson and his writing team, Gosling’s imprint on the adaptation already gives it a huge stamp of approval.

[IMG:R]Diaz Puts Herself in a Box 
Cameron Diaz has signed up to do The Box, a horror thriller from writer/director Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko). Based on a short story by Richard Matheson short story, it focuses on an unhappily married couple who finds a small wooden box on their doorstep. At the push of a button, the box brings its bearer instant wealt–but also instantly kills someone the bearer doesn’t know. Rod Serling already gave us a taste with his episode “Button, Button.” Good thing Diaz has a good director because she usually needs sage guidance. Donnie Darko gave Jake Gyllenhaal indie cred, that’s for sure.

[IMG:L]Carrey Falls Off the Wagon
And we can’t wait to watch him do it. Jim Carrey will produce and star in the comedy Sober Buddies. The story revolves around a hard-partying software exec who is assigned a court-appointed Sober Buddy to keep him under control during a critical business trip to Las Vegas. The plan falls apart, however, when the Sober Buddy (Carrey) falls off the wagon. No doubt this will indeed lend itself to any number of wacky Carrey scenes. Carrey is also still eyeing the title character in the Tim Burton-directed Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and the role of a gay prison escapee in the dark indie comedy I Love You Phillip Morris. I bet he does the drunk film first.

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[IMG:R]Crowe, DiCaprio Tell Each Other Lies 
Russell Crowe is in negotiations to star with Leonardo DiCaprio in Body of Lies, a spy thriller from director Ridley Scott (hands-down Crowe’s favorite director). The last time these two crazy kids got together was in The Quick and the Dead, when Leo was just a young feller. This time, their project centers on an idealistic CIA agent (DiCaprio) newly stationed in Jordan, who develops an intricate scheme to sow seeds of suspicion among the terrorists he is hunting. But the plan puts his life in turmoil and threatens his relationship with the head of Jordanian intelligence. Crowe will play DiCaprio‘s boss. Sounds appropriately timely and dramatic.

[IMG:L]Foxx Washes the Blood Off; Def-Con Zero
Filmmaker George C. Wolfe (Lackawanna Blues) is set to direct Jamie Foxx in the legal drama Blood on the Leaves. The story centers on a district attorney who grapples with feelings of revenge as he prosecutes a black history professor on trial for the murders of white men accused of crimes against blacks during the Civil Rights movement. Good, something meaty for the talented Foxx. He deserves it after doing films like Stealth and Miami Vice. Meanwhile, Mos Def has signed on to star in and exec produce Bobby Zero. Def will play the romantic lead in the film about a down-on-his-luck social satirist who gives up his artistic aspirations to work at an advertising agency. Why is it in movies, such as She’s Having a Baby and American Beauty, those you have to compromise their artistic integrity end up working at an ad agency?

[IMG:R]Fox Loses Friends
Megan Fox, who is generating buzz with her starring role opposite Shia LaBeouf in Transformers, has joined the cast of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Fox joins a cast that includes Simon Pegg, Kirsten DunstJeff Bridges and Danny Huston in the story about the disastrous stint of a contributing editor (Pegg) at a magazine. Fox will play a young Hollywood starlet getting her first taste of fame. Sounds like another role in which all she has to do is stand around and look hot.

[IMG:L]Suvari Walks in Garden of Eden 
Mena Suvari will star with Jack HustonCaterina Murino and Richard E.Grant in The Garden of Eden, a John Irvin-directed adaptation of an Ernest Hemingway novel. Hemingway died before finishing the novel, which was published in 1986. The story is set in the pre-Depression jazz age. A wartime pilot-turned-writer (Huston) and his new wife (Suvari) embark on an extended honeymoon in Europe; she becomes restless and tests her husband’s devotion in unusual ways. One is to bring a sultry Italian girl (Murino) into their bedroom. How very Henry and June, which coincidentally also starred Grant.

[IMG:R]Curtis Goes South of the Border 
Jamie Lee Curtis has joined the lost-dog comedy South of the BorderRaja Gosnell (Scooby Doo) directs. The story centers on a spoiled Beverly Hills Chihuahua (Drew Barrymore) who becomes lost in Mexico and must rely on her new friends to help her get back home. Curtis joins Piper Perabo as the only other live-action character in the film, as Aunt Viv, the dog’s owner. The rest of the cast, which includes Barrymore, George Lopez, Andy Garcia, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez, Placido Domingo,and Edward James Olmos, will lend their voices to the project. What fun.

Until next week…

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