Emmerich’s Shakespeare Pic Fills Out, ‘Croods’ Find Cage and Reynolds and Cooper Drops McG

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Emmerich’s Anonymous Adds Three: Roland Emmerich’s next film will be titled Anonymous and he has lined up Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis and Rhys Ifans to star. Emmerich is quoted describing the films as “an historical thriller because it’s about who will succeed Queen Elizabeth and the struggle of the people who want to have a hand in it. It’s ‘The Tudors’ on one side and the Cecils on the other, and in between [the two] is the Queen. Through that story we tell how the plays written by the Earl of Oxford ended up labeled ‘William Shakespeare’.” Redgrave will be playing Queen Elizabeth; Thewlis as William Cecil, old and young; and Ifans as The Earl Of Oxford. Emmerich says there are still nine lead roles yet to cast. John Orloff wrote the script, but there is word on whether Mark Anderson’s “Shakespeare by Another Name” (pictured right) was used as source material. Shooting will start in Berlin next month. [Empire]

Cage and Reynolds are The Croods: Nicolas Cage and Ryan Reynolds are set to lend their voices to Dreamworks’s 3D animated prehistoric feature The Croods, written and directed by Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon) and Kirk DeMicco (Space Chimps). Cage will voice the leader and protector of his family, and Reynolds will voice an outsider whose new ideas challenge the patriarch’s authority. The film is already set for a March 30, 2012 release. We first heard of the project in May of 2009 when it was described as a caveman comedy that was once intended to be an Aardman collaboration. For the full synopsis click here.

Cooper Bails on McG Due to Hangover: Bradley Cooper has dropped out of McG’s upcoming comedy with Reese Witherspoon This Means War, due to a scheduling conflict with the July production start of The Hangover 2. McG is directing the film for Fox and must now find a new male lead in a film centered on best friends who become enemies when the duo realize they are pining for the same woman. [Deadline]

Delpy to Direct Skylab: Julie Delpy (2 Days in Paris) is set to direct a French language comedy called Skylab a film set in the mid-to-late ’70s centered on an eccentric family all while the events of NASA’s space station Skylab play out. Skylab was a space station that went into space in 1973 only to come crashing to Earth six years later. [Comme au Cinema via The Playlist]

Hopkins Takes The Rite: Anthony Hopkins has signed on to star in The Rite, a supernatural thriller from New Line for director Mikael Hafstrom (1408). Michael Petroni (Queen of the Damned) adapted the screenplay from a book by Matt Baglio and based on true events, the story centers on a disillusioned American seminary student who attends exorcism school at the Vatican and ultimately finds his faith through encounters with demonic forces. Hopkins will play a priest who is an expert in exorcisms and whose methods are not necessarily traditional. [Heat Vision]

Barrymore Loves Whales: A speculative story has Drew Barrymore circling the lead role in Universal’s recently acquired Everybody Loves Whales. Barrymore is eying the role of a Greenpeace activist and Ken Kwapis is set to direct. Shooting is slated for the fall. [Deadline]

Portman Finds Best Buds: Natlie Portman will star in and produce road-trip comedy Best Buds with a script from first time feature writer Jamie Denbo. The film centers on a woman who’s on the verge of a complete nervous breakdown on the eve of her wedding. To save herself, she goes on a road trip to San Diego with two best friends, relying on a combo of marijuana and the bonds of their decades-long friendship. [Variety and first reported by Pajiba]

Gooding Jr. and Hauser Draw Up a Hit List: Cuba Gooding Jr. and Cole Hauser are set to star in the indie action-thriller The Hit List with Will Kaufman directing from a script by Chad and Evan Law. The film centers on a man who confides his problems to a stranger (Gooding) he meets in a bar and, in a drunken moment, gives the stranger a list of the five people he’d like to see dead; the people on his list are soon being killed off. Shooting began this week in Spokane, Washington. [Vareity]

Galifianakis to Star in Miracle Workers: Zach Galifianakis is set to star in Miracle Workers, a buddy supernatural comedy in which the actor is put on a path that has him posing as an exorcist with a pal. The two think they’ve got a good thing going until they’re faced with a real menace. Michael Aguiler, producer of The Crazies, is shepherding the project. [ShockTillYouDrop.com]