The Casting Couch: September 27, 2006

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In an odd pairing Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon are set to star in a Middle East political thriller for New Line called Rendition. When I think political thriller these aren’t exactly the two names that pop into my head, but Gavin Hood seems to think differently as he will helm the feature described as a multilayered story centered on a CIA analyst, based in the Middle East, whose world spins out of control as he questions his assignment after overseeing the secret-police interrogation of a suspected terrorist. The film is aiming for a November start. [Variety]

Rob Cohen is set to direct Scared Straight a prison thriller for New Line Cinema. The film centers on a governor’s teenage son who is sent to prison as part of Scared Straight, a crime-prevention program that imprisons delinquent teens for a short period in the hopes of deterring them from a life of crime. While the teenager is there, a riot breaks out and the prisoners take him hostage. He teams with other street kids and a con to stop the riot. Apparently there is a feeling that there is a revival in the prison genre thanks to Fox’s television show “Prison Break.” Personally I find that show to be ridiculous, but obviously I am in the minority. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Rosario Dawson is a comic book kinda gal and she is going to take that persona to the big screen as the comic series she co-created and co-writes, “O.C.T.: Occult Crimes Taskforce,” is heading to Dimension Films. The project is being crafted as a starring vehicle for the actress as she will play a New York police detective who, after stumbling upon a gruesome and bizarre crime scene, is enlisted for a covert squad that uses black arts and mystical weaponry to hunt down and kill soul-sucking ghouls. [Variety]

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler of “Saturday Night Live” fame are set to star in Baby Mama for Universal Pictures. The pic was penned and will be directed by Michael McCullers. The film is about a single career woman whose desire to have a child and keep her career leads her to hire a surrogate. [Variety]

The cast for George Gallo’s rom-com Homeland Security is set with Antonio Banderas, Meg Ryan, Colin Hanks and Selma Blair set to star and filming ready to begin in Shreveport, LA on October 2. The story concerns an uptight young federal agent who finds himself having to spy on his sexually liberated mother and her new lover after the FBI links him to an international art theft ring.. [Variety]