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Role Call: Hollywood’s Weekly Casting News

[IMG:L]For The Birds?
James Bond director Martin Campbell is in talks to helm the remake of the Alfred Hitchcock classic The Birds, with Naomi Watts loosely attached to star. Honestly, why mess with a classic? Released by Universal in 1963, The Birds featured an avian attack on the California coastal town of Bodega Bay, and marked the screen debut of Hitchcock‘s newest ingénue, Tippi Hedren. Coming three years after Psycho, it cemented his reputation as a horror director and launched many “nature on the attack” imitators. The studio says the redo will owe more to the Daphne du Maurier short story that inspired the Hitchcock film. But we all know the real reason: Special effects are better and watching a bunch of CGI created birds attacking, in all it’s bloody glory, is just too hard to pass up. Let’s just hope Watts has the smarts to keep away. Wrestling with creepy little girls and giant apes is quite enough horror for her.

[IMG:R]Jolie Boards Eastwood’s Changeling 
Angelina Jolie will star in director Clint Eastwood‘s true-life drama Changeling. The project follows a woman (Jolie) whose son goes missing in 1920s Los Angeles. The police return the wrong child and the woman is thrown into an insane asylum for disagreeing with the LAPD. When it is revealed her real son has been murdered by a child serial killer and the child returned admits to fraud, she takes her case to the city council and takes down the mayor, the police chief and several corrupt officers, concurrently sparking changes in the insanity legislation. Jeffrey DonovanColm Feore and John Malkovich are co-starring. How could you deem a mother crazy for saying a child isn’t hers, especially if the child isn’t an infant? Wouldn’t a mother instinctively know that? These are questions I may yell out as I’m watching.

[IMG:L]Another Christmas Carol?
Well, maybe there’s room for just ONE more Christmas Carol adaptation–especially if it’s being done by Robert Zemeckis using that cool performance capture technique, which blends live action and computer-generated imagery, he used for Polar Express and the upcoming Beowulf. He’s tagged Jim Carrey as his Scrooge, as well as the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present and the ghost of Christmas future. But after this interpretation of Charles Dickens’ classic, that’s enough of Scrooge and his miserly ways. There never has to be another ever again. Carrey is also set to star in Yes Man, opposite Zooey Deschanel. The story follows the unexpected comedic adventures of a man who decides to change his life by saying yes to everything that comes his way. If life could only be so simple…

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[IMG:R]Stiles Cries Owl 
Julia Stiles will play a woman who falls for her stalker in Cry of the Owl, a thriller with a fairly dull sounding title. It is based on the 1962 novel by Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley) about a guy (Paddy Considine), who moves to Stiles‘ town and begins spying on her. Scott Speedman will play her jilted ex, who complicates matters when he plots revenge against her. Sarah Polley was initially attached to star in the project but dropped out because of a scheduling conflict. The movie starring the always interesting Polley would have changed the dynamics considerably.

[IMG:L]Ruffalo, Hawke Cry Like Real Men 
Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke will play Boston thugs in the true-life crime drama Real Men CryHawke and Ruffalo‘s respective characters, Paulie and Brian, are childhood friends forced to survive on the tough streets of South Boston through a life of petty thievery. What’s with all these movies about the seedier side of Boston? Are there any nice parts to the city? Paulie and Brian then join a local gang of criminals, but Brian finds it hard to reconcile his work and friendship with Paulie and his relationship with his wife (Amanda Peet) and son. First-time feature director Brian Goodman based Ruffalo‘s character on his own experiences with a friend who is now serving 100 years in prison for armed robbery. “I came from a broken home and was living in survival mode,” Goodman told the Hollywood Reporter. “I have three bullets in me, one in the back of my head … I sat down with Mark and Ethan and told them, ‘You are two on a very short list of men who could’ve been in films 35 years ago, when men were men,'” Goodman said. Butter them up, why don’t you?

[IMG:R]Fox’s Eyes Body
Transformers hottie Megan Fox is in negotiations to star in a comedic supernatural thriller from the writer of the upcoming buzz picture Juno, starring Ellen Page. Jennifer’s Body, described as similar in tone to Heathers and Beetlejuice, follows a cheerleader with a perfect life who becomes the girl from hell when she gets possessed and begins killing boys in a small town. Her best friend must then find a way to stop her. If done tongue-in-cheek, this could easily work. It’s good for Megan to try something different.

[IMG:L]Longoria, Biggs Suffer from Lower Learning
Eva LongoriaJason Biggs and Rob Corddry will star in Lower Learning, a comedy set in an elementary school. Longoria plays a school inspector tracking scandalous allegations about a shady principal (Corddry). Teaming with her old flame–a former cop-turned-vice principal (Biggs)–she attempts to bring him down with the help of some disgruntled students. The Office’s Ed Helms co-stars with Tenacious D’s Kyle Gass and Monica Potter. It’s obvious Longoria would like to further develop her comedic streak, but I’m not quite sure if this will help her do that or not.

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