The Casting Couch: April 26, 2006

ON
PARKER FILLS A VACANCY
Sarah Jessica Parker is set to star in Vacancy for Screen Gems with production expected to begin this fall. There was no director mentioned in the Variety article.

The story, written by Mark L. Smith, is about a couple who check into a motel and, unaware there’s a hidden camera, become the subjects of a snuff film. Parker will play the wife, who is still reeling from the death of her infant son.

SOURCE: Variety

WILL SMITH ON FOR I AM LEGEND

I hope this is a good casting move because I think this film really has a chance at being very good as Will Smith is set to star in the feature adaptation of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend for Warner Bros. and Constantine director Francis Lawrence aboard to helm.

The film has gone through production ups and downs ever since 1997 when Ridley Scott and Arnold Schwarzenegger were aboard the pic, but that obviously fell through and here we stand as Smith and Lawrence are expected to move forward on the pic with a script from I, Robot and Tonight He Comes scribe Akiva Goldsman, both of those other films coincidentally starred or will star Smith as well.

For those unfamiliar to the Matheson story, “I Am Legend” surrounds a night which spawned the rise of the living dead who come with one purpose: destroy Robert Neville (Smith), the last man on earth. A mysterious plague has swept the planet leaving in its wake this one survivor. But there is still life of a sort–vampires, the strengthless half-dead who press on Neville from every side. He is almost tempted to join them in I AM LEGEND.

An early 2007 start date is planned for the picture, which will be shot in New York.

SOURCE: Variety

STILLER HAS THE SEVEN DAY ITCH

I can already feel it coming, either 2007 or 2008 is going to be a repeat of 2004, a year in which Ben Stiller seemed to be in every single movie, and depending on the release schedule it could happen again as the so-called “funny man” is set to star in the Farrelly brothers’ feature Seven Day Itch, a loose remake of The Heartbreak Kid for DreamWorks.

Stiller is in final negotiations to star as a man who hastily weds a woman he thinks is perfect — until he falls in love with another while on his honeymoon.

Stiller is currently wrapping up filming on the ensemble comedy Night at the Museum for Fox and will then turn his attention to Used Guys, also for Fox and director Jay Roach.

SOURCE: Variety

CRUISE/WAGNER WEIGH IN ON IRAQ WAR

It seems like just the mention of Tom Cruise‘s name garners attention and to be honest, if he wasn’t involved in this picture I don’t think I would have even spent the time typing this up since it really doesn’t have any casting information or director listing.

Paramount Pictures and Tom Cruise and his production partner Paula Wagner have optioned the New York Times Magazine article by foreign correspondent Dexter Filkins titled “The Fall of the Warrior King.”

The story centers on Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman, an Army commander in Baghdad who resigned following a scandal in which men under his command caused the drowning of an Iraqi civilian and if you wanted to read it for yourself, you can find it right here.

There is also potential for Cruise to take on the lead role as he is age-appropriate to Sassaman, who’s in his early 40s.

Stephen Belber will pen the script.

SOURCE: Variety

JASON LEE IS UNDERDOG!
The animated pooch has his voice as “My Name is Earl” star Jason Lee, better known to me as Brodie Bruce/Banky Edwards from the Kevin Smith flicks, has been tapped to lend his voice for the title character of Underdog: The Movie for Spyglass Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures.

The pic will be a live-action adaptation of the classic 1960s cartoon with an obvious CGI Underdog as it follows the humble dog named Shoeshine Boy who became the rhyming superheroic Underdog. In the movie, he is adopted by a 12-year-old boy and uses his superpower to protect his love, Polly Purebred, and the citizens of Capitol City from the evil Simon Barsinister (Peter Dinklage).

Lee’s last animated character was seen by quite a few folks as he voice Incredibles baddie Syndrome and he will also be lending his voice to Columbia Pictures’ Monster House due out this summer.

On a side note, the Hollywood Reporter article also mentions that Lee will be directing a short film that he wrote. The silent love story, which he will shoot this month, stars Giovanni Ribisi and Beth Riesgraf and will be produced by Lee, Riesgraf and Scott Martin for Lee’s production company, niva films.

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter

FIVE MORE SET TO KILL ME

Back on the April 18th edition of THE CASTING COUCH we reported that Tea Leoni and Ben Kingsley were set to star in the mob comedy You Kill Me for director John Dahl and now Variety brings us news on the rest of the cast, which includes a rather impressive fleet of names.

On top of Kingsley and Leoni the film will star Luke Wilson, Dennis Farina, Philip Baker Hall, Bill Pullman and Marcus Thomas.

The story revolves around a hitman (Kingsley) from Buffalo sent to the West Coast to dry out. He attends AA meetings, gets a sponsor and lands a job in a mortuary, where he meets a woman (Leoni) who is a relative of one his hits.

Apparently the pic is going to be shopped around at Cannes, so we may have distribution news soon.

SOURCE: Variety

MASTERSON AT THE HELM
Mary Stuart Masterson is set to make her directing debut with a little indie flick called The Cake Eaters, described by Production Weekly as an offbeat comic drama scripted by and starring Jayce Bartok. The film is scheduled to shoot in New York next month. Set in small-town America over the course of two days, the contemporary tale centers on two dysfunctional families thrown together by the return of one family’s prodigal son, forcing the clans’ members to battle old ghosts and work through emotional issues as they search for love at any cost.

SOURCE: Production Weekly

ACTRESS CATCHES CHOLERA
Production Weekly has also weighed in with news that Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno has joined Javier Bardem in the cast of Love In The Time Of Cholera for director Mike Newell and New Line Cinema.

The picture is based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and chronicles a love triangle set against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century South America. The story revolves around two young lovers who wait out careers, marriages, affairs and deaths until they can finally reunite.

Oscar-winning The Pianist scribe Ron Harwood adapted the screenplay, which is set to begin in Brazil on August 15.

SOURCE: Production Weekly

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