Casting Tidbits: Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Biggs & Kristen Bell
by Ethan Anderton
June 24, 2010
You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Casting Tidbits. First up, Hollywood.com sat down with Neil Patrick Harris on the set of The Smurfs where he revealed that he is definitely returning for A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, which is currently filming up in Michigan. You might be wondering how NPH will return after apparently meeting a grisly demise in Harold & Kumar Go to Guantanamo Bay, but if you stayed until the end of the credits then you know that not even bullets can kill Neil Patrick Harris.
Second, THR reports that Kristen Bell is looking to join both Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski in the lighthearted ensemble drama Whales, that tells a story set in Cold War-era 1988 where a small-town news reporter (Krasinski) and a Greenpeace volunteer (Barrymore) enlist the help of rival world superpowers to save three majestic gray whales trapped under the ice of the Arctic Circle. Bell will play a reporter from Los Angeles aiming for the big time who thinks her greatest assets are her looks. Similar in tone to Apollo 13, Ken Kwapis is directing this adaptation based on the nonfiction book Freeing the Whales: How the Media Created the World's Greatest Non-Event.
Next, Paramount Pictures announced it has discovered its leading man for their upcoming musical remake of Footloose. After a worldwide search for a new star, Kenny Wormald landed the coveted role once occupied by Kevin Bacon (who was also discovered for the original Footloose). Wormald will star opposite the lovely Julianne Hough in the story of a city boy who comes to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned. We're not sure just how much the contemporary musical telling of the story will change, but we do know that Dennis Quaid has also signed on to play the conservative Reverend Moore.
Also,Variety reports that Jason Biggs and Joel David Moore will star in the indie political comedy Grassroots, the story of a recently fired journalist (Biggs) who reluctantly agrees to spearhead the Seattle City Council campaign of his eccentric friend (Moore), a former pedicab driver with a burning passion for the Monorail. The film, written and directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal (father of Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal), is based on the memoir Zioncheck for President.
Next, ComingSoon reports Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Nat Wolff ("The Naked Brothers Band") have joined Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener in Peace, Love & Misunderstanding, the portrait of an unconventional family in the story of a conservative New York City lawyer (Keener) who is in desperate need of an escape after her husband asks for a divorce. Along with her two children (Broadway actress Elizabeth Olsen and Wolff), she takes refuge at her estranged hippie mother Grace's (Fonda) farmhouse, where she is exposed to a motley crew of free thinkers. What was meant to be a stress-free getaway quickly turns into a reminder of why Diane escaped her mother's hippie lifestyle in the first place, but the reunion forcers her, her children, and Grace to search for peace with each other and with themselves.
In addition, Variety reports Lukas Haas has joined the cast of the supernatural thriller Red Riding Hood. The story is a Gothic update on the Grimm Brothers tale and will see a medieval village haunted by a werewolf. Haas will play the village priest and joins a cast that already includes Amanda Seyfried as the title red hooded girl, Gary Oldman, Julie Christie, Max Irons and Shiloh Fernandez. This should be quite an interesting take on a classic children's tale, and will allow us to see if Catherine Hardwicke has some genuine talent behind the camera.
Finally, The Wrap reports Pierce Brosnan will star in the thriller Bonded, a film that is being produced by and co-starring his son Sean Brosnan and has nothing to do with James Bond. The story, based on true events that took place in El Monte, CA in the early '90s, follows a Mexican teenager named Jesus who, after the death of his mother, is sold by his father and smuggled into America, where he's forced to work as a slave laborer in a Los Angeles sweatshop. While imprisoned there, he befriends a young woman named Elena. But when she is claimed by a sex trafficker, Jesus must make a daring escape in order to rescue her. Both Brosnans will be playing police officers in the movie and casting is still on the search for the male lead.
Well, that's all for this edition of Casting Tidbits. Be sure to stay tuned for more casting updates on the way.