The Casting Couch: October 30, 2006

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Kevin Zegers, Hugh Dancy, Maggie Grace and Amy Brenneman have joined Maria Bello, Jimmy Smits and Emily Blunt in The Jane Austen Book Club for writer/director Robin Swicord’s adaptation of the Karen Joy Fowler novel. Production Weekly reported casting on this back in September and it looks like earlier mentioned Josh Lucas and Ellen Burstyn ended up not joining the picture. The story revolves around a California-based group of women and one man who form a club that meets periodically to discuss Jane Austen novels. As they meet, their lives unfold, with marriages being tested, affairs beginning, unsuitable arrangements becoming suitable and love happening.

Brenneman will play Sylvia, whose husband Daniel (Smits) leaves her after 32 years of marriage. Bello will play Jocelyn, her best friend who never married. Zegers will play an oversexed teen who gets involved with one of the club’s members, while Blunt will portray Prudie, a teacher with a worthy husband but is nagged by fantasies of sex with other men. Grace will play the lesbian daughter of Sylvia and Daniel, while Dancy is Grigg, a sci-fi fan and computer whiz.

The movie is scheduled to begin shooting Wednesday in Los Angeles. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Mekhi Phifer and rapper/actress Eve will star opposite Vincent Laresca in Antonio Macia’s indie feature Ego. Macia penned the screenplay which centers on a cop who begins harassing the newly paroled ex-con who killed his father. The ex-con is repeatedly humiliated until his tragic death and the cop must live with the emotional consequences of his revenge. The story jumps ahead fifteen years into the future, where he must now deal with a whole new set of problems. His highly decorated police career is brought into question and must confront his partner who he suspects as being dirty. Laresca will star as the cop and Phifer plays the ex-con. Shooting will start in late November in Connecticut. [Production Weekly]

CHUD is reporting that Joe Carnahan will follow up the upcoming crime flick Smokin’ Aces with an adaptation of James Ellroy’s “White Jazz.” Carnahan described the pic as “the sequel to L.A. Confidential… That script is one of my favorites. It’s heartbreaking. It’s, to me, what that book always was – the point of departure from the Eisenhower ’50s to the psychedelic freakshow, Manson ’60s. It’s a total combination of the two with a heavy, heavy voice-over narration, this kind of classic noir. I love the script, dude. I’m going to get it out there – once it’s done I’m going to get it on the internet so people can read it.” He continues by saying that he is also considering doing a remake of Otto Preminger’s Bunny Lake Missing, a movie about a woman who reports that her young daughter is missing, but there seems to be no evidence that she ever existed. [CHUD]

Enrico Colantoni has joined Meg Ryan, Antonio Banderas and Keith David in Homeland Security currently lensing in Shreveport, La. The pic is written and directed by George Gallo and concerns an international art heist. [Variety]

Finally, Suicide Girls interviewed Mario Van Peebles and he tells the site that he is shooting a documentary called Bring Your ‘A’ Game concerning the “epidemic where 50 percent of young black men dropping out of high school.” He also says that he has just finished writing a script called The Uniter, which he says is “about this kid that turns out to be the one person on Earth that can unite the warring tribes of America. It goes into this Terminator, Matrixy, it is a real trippy movie.” [Suicide Girls]

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