Casting Bonanza: Jamie Foxx, Emily Blunt, Kurt Russell & More
by Ethan Anderton
May 13, 2010
Honey, I blew up the Casting Tidbits! First up, continuing the onslaught of casting news for Seth Gordon's comedy Horrible Bosses, THR has another name to toss into the ring as they've discovered Jamie Foxx has signed on to star. But rather than playing one of the bosses or the remaining murder plotting employees alongside Jason Bateman & Charlie Day, the actor will instead be playing a scam artist named Motherfucker Jones who offers murder advice to the three pals. Apparently the character's original name was even more jarring (probably something with the N-word), but even this new name might change in the end. Read on!
Second, Deadline and THR have word from the Cannes Film Festival that Kurt Russell is attached to star in a supernatural thriller called Undying, the story of private investigator Virgil Lone, who gets pulled into a surreal underworld when he is hired by the mysterious woman named Delia. No director is attached yet, but the script (originally titled Reaper) comes from The Book of Eli writer Gary Whitta. If the role is as kick-ass as Denzel Washtington's role from The Book of Eli, this could be a great role for Russell who has enjoyed some semblance of a comeback since starring in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof.
Also, THR reports Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas have joined the cast of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, a new romantic comedy from director Lasse Hallstrom (Dear John, What's Eating Gilbert Grape), who is replacing Bill Condon on the project after he departed for the Twilight Saga finale Breaking Dawn. Simon Beaufoy who won an Oscar for his work on Slumdog Millionaire, is adapting the story from Paul Torday's novel of the same name which follows Dr. Alfred Jones, a London fisheries scientist, who is consulted on a visionary sheik's scheme to introduce salmon, and salmon-angling, to the country of Yemen. For a story that is told experimentally through various e-mails, letters and interviews, calling it a "rom-com" seems a bit over simplistic, but that's Hollywood for ya.
Next, Variety reports that Evangeline Lilly has already lined up a movie deal to follow-up the conclusion of "Lost" as she and Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) will join the cast of Real Steel, the Shawn Levy directed story about a former boxer (Hugh Jackman) who teams up with his long-lost son to train a robot for a championship robot boxing match. Mackie plays a boxing promoter while Lilly plays a friend of Jackman's character. My enjoyment of Levy's family fare is higher than most, so combine that with Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis putting their names behind this one, I'm looking forward to it with cautious optimism.
In addition, ScreenDaily reports Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Dominic West (300) and Imelda Staunton (Taking Woodstock) have signed on for the supernatural thriller The Awakening, the feature film debut of praised British television director Nick Murphy working from a script he wrote with Stephen Volk. The story takes us all the way back to World War I England in the year 1921 where we follows a skeptical woman who travels to a countryside boarding school to investigate rumours of an apparent haunting. Just when she thinks she has debunked the ghost theory, she has a chilling spectral encounter which defies all her rational beliefs. Sounds like a re-telling of The Reaping, and that's not a good thing.
Even more casting news comes from THR as they report Emma Roberts (Valentine's Day) and William Moseley (The Chronicles of Narnia franchise) will star alongside Sir Ben Kingsley in A Great Education, the story of a working class young man (Moseley) who enters Harvard College, where he joins the singing group the Krockodiloes, gets mixed up in the social whirl and falls for a society girl (Roberts.) Sounds like a typical coming-of-age film not entirely different from flicks like School Ties or Dead Poets Society, but without the melodrama. The film is written and directed by Chris Keyser who previously worked on the series "Party of Five."
Also, Variety reports that Walter Salles adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1957 novel On the Road, from producer Francis Ford Coppola, has picked up yet another cast member in Kirsten Dunst. The actress joins the likes of Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley in the story of Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac's autobiographical characters, who sets off on a cross country journey thereby expressing the restless energy and desire for freedom that makes people rush out to see the world. No word on the specifics of Dunst's character, but she will likely be one of the many strangers Paradise encounters on his travels.
In addition, THR reports Katherine Heigl will take part in a bit of whimsical romance in The Age of Adaline, an epic love story written by Mills Goodlie and Sal Pascowitz focusing on a young woman, born at the turn of 20th century, who is rendered ageless after an accident. After years of a solitary life, she meets a man who might be worth losing her immortality. So I guess she can give up her immortality for love, and yet this fountain of youth of sorts manifested itself after an accident? I guess I shouldn't be scrutinizing a story like this when I can easily suspend my disbelief for Transformers, but I digress. After all it probably cant' get much worse than Killers. Producers are still searching for a director and a male lead.
Finally, Variety reports that 16 years after their collaboration on Muriel's Wedding, director P.J. Hogan and actress Toni Collette will reunite for Mental, which follows a charismatic, crazy hothead who transforms a family's life when she becomes the nanny of five girls. Calling Mental a comedy is accurate, but it's a comedy in the same vein of Muriel's Wedding in that the story is still "laced with pain and brimming with flawed by lovable characters." The main character, Shaz (Collette), seems to be inspired from someone Hogan knew in her own life as she calls the character, "hilarious, outrageous, dangerous, courageous, inspiring, heartbreaking and totally, totally mad. And she changed my life." I always like when former collaborators come back together years later for an all-new project.
Well, that's all for this edition of Casting Tidbits. Be sure to stay tuned for more casting updates on the way.