Casting Bits: Terrence Howard, Dwayne Johnson, Vera Farmiga
by Ethan Anderton
May 10, 2010
Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. I'm here to talk to you about the Casting Tidbits Initiative. First up, THR reports Terrence Howard will portray Nelson Mandela in Winnie, a biopic of the former wife of the first black president of South Africa. Being directed by veteran South African filmmaker Darrell J. Roodt (who also co-wrote the script with Andre Pieterse and Paul L. Johnson) the story's focus ranges from her image as a mother, wife and steadfast supporter of her activist husband, to campaigning for his release from jail and fight against apartheid. Winnie Mandela will be played by Jennifer Hudson in the film as well. Read on!
Next, Deadline reports that Dwayne Johnson is circling a starring role in the fifth installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise, currently known as Fast Five. The sequel is supposed to follow characters Dom (Diesel) and Brian (Walker) as fugitives being pursued by legendary lawmen. Apparently Johnson would be taking on the role of one of the pursuing police officers really giving Dom and Brian a run for their money and their cars. Maybe he could infuse some new life into a franchise that has gotten a lot less fast and furious recently.
Finally, a little un-casting tidbit as The Daily Mail reports that both Ewan McGregor and Vera Farmiga have decided to turn down starring roles in W.E. (as in Wallis and Edward), a film about Edward VIII's Abdication that is the second film directed by chart-topping pop singer and occasional actress Madonna. The film focuses on Wally Winthrop, a contemporary, New York-based woman who is obsessed with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and everything about the constitutional crisis that erupted over their relationship. Apparently she had wanted McGregor to portray the king who gave up his throne to marry the woman he loved, the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson, and Farmiga to play the woman who became the Duchess of Windsor. McGregor's involvement didn't move passed brief talks, and Farmiga turned down the role due to private family issues.
However, it sounds like the film is having some troubles getting started as one of the key producers and a distinguished casting director quit due to "creative differences" blaming Madonna who is said to have some major problems collaborating and delegating responsibilities which is exactly what a director should be doing. Someone close to the production said, "All directors are demanding - there's nothing new there - but there's an art to doing it with grace and good manners." Sounds like Madonna better clean up her act if she plans to get anyone willing to work on the film.
Well, that's all for this edition of Casting Tidbits. Be sure to stay tuned for more casting updates on the way.