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Role Call: Hollywood’s Weekly Casting News

[IMG:L]The Fast and the Four-ious
Yes, it’s true. There will be a fourth The Fast and the Furious, but Vin Diesel and Paul Walker have their heads in the game this time. The actors are in negotiations to reunite for more action behind the wheel. The first Furious, released in 2001, was a surprise hit, grossing more than $144 million and making stars our of Diesel and Walker. Only Walker returned for the 2003 sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, along with Tyrese Gibson, but Walker sat out the third installment, 2005’s Tokyo Drift. That movie had relative newcomer Lucas Black in the driver’s seat but did feature Diesel in a much-anticipated cameo at the end of the movie. Justin Lin and Chris Morgan, who were behind Tokyo Drift, are returning to directing and writing duties, respectively. The story line of Universal’s as-yet-untitled installment is being kept under wraps, but fast cars are involved. Natch.

[IMG:R]Star Trek Prequel Gets Staffed Up
John Cho, of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle fame, and Simon Pegg, of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead fame, have been cast in J.J. Abrams Star Trek prequel. Cho will play the young Sulu, while Pegg is set to play Scotty, the soon-to-be chief engineer. Exact plot details are closely guarded, but it is understood that the movie chronicles the early days of the Enterprise crew, from their days at the Starfleet Academy to their first mission. Other Trek casting deals appear to be closing at warp speed this week, with Eric Bana recently signing on to play the movie’s villain, Nero. Also cast are Zoe Saldana (Guess Who) as Uhura, Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog) as a young Chekov and Zachary Quinto (Heroes) as Spock. Leonard Nimoy, who originated the role of Spock, is on board as well. That just leaves Kirk: Chris Pine (Just My Luck) is in talks to play him, although I think that’s a mistake. Why not Fantastic Four’s Chris Evans? Other roles to be cast are Christopher Pike, the first captain of the Enterprise, Kirk’s parents—and let’s not forget, Leonard “Bones” McCoy. Can’t wait.

[IMG:L]Clooney and DiCaprio: A Match Made in Heaven
Two of Hollywood’s most politically active stars are teaming for a political thriller. George Clooney is in negotiations to direct Leonardo DiCaprio in Farragut North, a feature adaptation of an upcoming Broadway play (directed by Mike Nichols) loosely based on Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential election campaign. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Farragut North refers to the Washington Metro station located near many lobbyists’ offices. The play follows a young, idealistic communications director who works for an inspiring, though unorthodox, presidential candidate. During the campaign, his career is done in by more seasoned politicos who thrive on poisonous partisan politics, dirty tricks and back-stabbing. Playwright Beau Willimon, who worked on the Dean campaign, will adapt his play for the big screen. Sounds pretty appropriate for Clooney and DiCaprio.

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[IMG:R]The Dillon Boys Get Gigs 
Matt Dillon has the blues is in final negotiations to play Leonard Chess, the legendary co-founder of the Chicago blues label Chess Records, in Cadillac Records. The film follows the rise and fall of Chess Records, which launched the careers of such greats as Muddy Waters, Etta James and Chuck Berry. Chess, who co-founded the label with his brother Phil, was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Meanwhile, Matt’s baby brother, Entourage’s Kevin Dillon, is set to play the title character in National Lampoon’s 301: The Legend of Awesomest Maximus Wallace Leonidas. Great title. Pic spoofs the sword-and-sandal epics such as 300, TroyGladiator and Braveheart, and Dillon plays the bumbling Spartan general who fails upward in his quest for greatness. Perfect.

[IMG:L]Murphy Is Looking for the Right Words 
Eddie Murphy and helmer Brian Robbins are in final negotiations to reteam for the comedy A Thousand Words. The story centers on a glib man who finds out that he has only 1,000 words left to speak before he dies. Murphy and Robbins previously collaborated on the laffer Norbit and will do the same for the upcoming Starship Dave. Oy. I can see how this is going to go.

[IMG:R]Calling Young Hollywood for Superhero Duty!
Many young upstarts are stepping into the superhero hall of justice to vie for parts in the comic book movie Justice League of America. According to the Hollywood Reporter, director George Miller held a marathon casting session, seeing 35-40 actors for roles in the big-budget project. Parts up for grabs include Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter. Martian Manhunter? Never heard of that one. On the roll call are Adam Brody (Fox’s The O.C.), Joseph Cross (Running With Scissors), D.J. Cotrona (Windfall), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Grindhouse), Michael Angarano (Sky High), Teresa Palmer (Wolf Creek), Max Thieriot (Jumper) and chart-topping rapper Common. The cast of NBC’s Friday Night Lights is well-represented as well, with Minka KellyAdrianne Palicki and Scott Porter also among those testing for parts. No costumes are involved in the tests, which are being taped as actors read script pages. If the names feel young, it’s because Miller is looking for actors to grow into their roles over the course of several movies. How fun is that? I want to audition!

[IMG:L]Polley, Brody Splice DNA; Mitchell, Freeman Figure Out The Code 
Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody have been cast in Splice. The science fiction thriller explores a dark vision of the world of genetic engineering in which two young scientists become superstars by splicing different animal DNA to create fantastical new creatures. They ignore the legal and ethical boundaries and introduce human DNA into their experiment. The Island of Dr. Moreau anyone? Meanwhile, Radha Mitchell will reunite with her Feast of Love co-star Morgan Freeman in the indie crime thriller The Code. The Australian actress plays a temptress whose romantic liaison with a thief (Antonio Banderas) threatens to come between him and his partner in crime, her godfather (Freeman). Yawn.

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