The Casting Couch: April 27, 2006

ON
BENTON HAS AN APPOINTMENT AND A FEAST

Oscar-winning director Robert Benton has signed a two picture deal with Lakeshore Entertainment to direct two new films, Feast of Love and Appointment in Samarra.

Benton hasn’t had a picture since 2003’s The Human Stain and the first to shoot of the two will be Feast of Love, which is based on the Charles Baxter novel, described as a romance revolving around a community of friends in Oregon. Filming on that one will begin in August.

Filming on Appointment in Samarra is expected to begin sometime in 2007. That pic is based on another novel, this one by John O’Hara, and the story was actually adapted by Benton himself and centers on the social circuit in Gibbsville, Pa. At the heart of the scene is a glamorous couple who are the envy of almost everyone in town until the husband begins down a self-destructive path.

SOURCE: Variety

RAND’S SHRUGGED APPEALS TO JOLIE AND PITT

Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” was just picked up by Lionsgate and the feature adaptation has captured the attention of the Brangelina duo (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for those of you not in on the celeb gossip trail), as the two are circling the leading roles of Dagny Taggart and John Galt.

The novel spans more than 1,100 pages and was published back in 1957. The story revolves around the economic collapse of the U.S. sometime in the future and espouses her individualistic philosophy of objectivism. The violent, apocalyptic ending has always posed a challenge but could prove especially so in the post-9/11 climate.

SOURCE: Variety

BROLIN JOINS COEN’S COUNTRY
Josh Brolin has been added to the cast of Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country for Old Men.

The cast already includes Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem and is a joint collaboration between Miramax and Paramount Classics and is an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel.

Set in West Texas in 1980, the story is about a young Vietnam vet (Brolin) who stumbles over the remnants of a drug deal gone bad. He’s hunted by two extremely vicious assassins who want the money back.

The Variety article goes on to say that Brolin just wrapped the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino pic Grind House for Dimension, and moves into the Karen Moncrieff-directed indie The Dead Girl. Word lately has been that Rodriguez’s portion of Grind House, “Planet Terror”, had been put on hold, so possibly those rumors were false or this just means that Brolin’s portion is finished.

SOURCE: Variety

MYERS LEARNS HOW TO SURVIVE A ROBOT UPRISING

What has Mike Myers done since playing the big green ogre in Shrek and a big cat in a hat? Nada, but that is all about to change as he has just been attached to star in How to Survive a Robot Uprising for Paramount Pictures.

The comedy is based on a manual written by Daniel H. Wilson, a doctoral candidate at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon U.

Myers is also aligned to play Keith Moon, drummer of rock group the Who, in a biopic being mounted by Nigel Sinclair, which was announced back in September 2005 and, of course, he will be voicing the previously mentioned ogre in Shrek 3 due out next year.

SOURCE: Variety

ALDA IS RESURRECTING THE CHAMP

Alan Alda is joining Josh Hartnett, Samuel L. Jackson, Kathryn Morris and Rachel Nichols in Resurrecting the Champ for director Rod Lurie.

The drama is scheduled to begin shooting in Canada in June and is described as a fact-based story concerns an L.A. Times reporter who wrote about a homeless man who was once a famed fighter, then found the pugilist wasn’t who he claimed to be. By then, the journalist and his subject had formed a father-son bond.

SOURCE: Variety

HURT SEES FROM A NEW VANTAGE POINT

I think I was the only one out there that thought William Hurt‘s performance in A History of Violence was one of the worst performances of 2005. Based on the fact that he was nominated for an Oscar for said role tells me the Academy definitely disagrees. However, we are not here to discuss the past, but the future, as Hurt is in negotiations to play the U.S. president in Columbia Pictures’ thriller Vantage Point.

About a month ago exactly Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox signed on to star in the pic for director Pete Travis.

The thriller was penned by Barry L. Levy and depicts the attempted assassination of the president from five different points of view. Quaid and Fox star as secret service agents.

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter

A LITTLE FAMILY TIME FOR FOX
20th Century Fox has acquired Mark Legan and Mark Wilding’s pitch Family Time. The story is described as a family time-travel adventure, similar in tone to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter

COLUMBIA SHOWS UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
Columbia Pictures has acquired Jonathan Davis’ baseball comedy pitch Unsportsmanlike Conduct. The story is said to be similar to The Bad News Bears, only with adults, as it chronicles what happens when a major league expansion team hires a statistician to assess the league’s best available players. But that numbers-only strategy leaves the team with all of the league’s head cases.

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter

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