Gervais for ‘Muppets 2’, Chan for ‘Expendables 3’ and ‘Apes’ Sequel Might Be Franco-less


Ricky Gervais1.) Ricky Gervais is in talks for the lead human role in Disney’s Muppets sequel. Director James Bobin and writer Nicholas Stoller return from the 2011 hit, while “Modern Family” star Ty Burrell has already signed on to play a lazy Interpol inspector in the film.

The film starts production next month and is said to be a European caper of sorts, but plot details are being kept under wraps. We do know we should expect at least one more casting notice, as there is a big Russian femme fatale role that hasn’t yet been cast. Oddly enough, Gervais shot a cameo for the first movie that didn’t make the final cut. I’d say things worked out well enough for him though. [Heat Vision]

2.) With the script for The Expendables 3 currently in the works, Jackie Chan has confirmed he will have a role in the film. “Sly had invited me to be in Expendables 2 but I was too busy filming CZ12 and couldn’t make a commitment to the film,” Chan said. “But he did extend his invitation to the third movie, which I agreed to on the condition that I will be appearing as more than just a minor role with a few scenes.”

Chan is also attached to a script called Skip Tracer, which is now being read by Chris Tucker and could potentially turn into Rush Hour 4. If Tucker doesn’t take to the script, Chan would make the film as an original buddy movie with another counterpart from the West. [Cinema Online]

3.) While it once looked like James Franco would have a small role in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, he might have been axed entirely with the departure of director Rupert Wyatt. Here’s what Franco had to say on the matter:

I was going to be a small part of the next one. There was a moment when Rupert Wyatt was going to direct the second one. A lot of the human characters that were in the first movie were dead in the sequel that Rupert was going to direct. But there was one scene, between Caesar and my character, maybe even just like on a video that was left behind, but then a lot of things happened, like [former Fox co-chairman] Tom Rothman who was a big part of the first movie, left. Now Rupert’s not a part of it so I don’t know. My guess is I won’t be in it. Nobody’s talked to me since Rupert left.”

Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) was named Wyatt’s replacement with the film scheduled for a May 2014 release. [MTV News]

Noomi Rapace4.) Fox Searchlight has offered Noomi Rapace the female lead opposite Tom Hardy in Animal Rescue. Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead) directs the film, with Dennis Lehane (Shutter Island, Gone Baby Gone) penning the adaptation of his own short story. Hardy’s character is a man who wants to right his checkered past, but becomes the target of a pit bull’s abusive and mentally unstable owner when he rescues the pup from a garbage can. The production is targeting a March start in New York, which would make it Hardy’s next project after the just-completed six-month shoot for Mad Max: Fury Road. [Deadline]

5.) With the Christmas Day release of Les Miserables right around the corner, Eddie Redmayne has been getting a lot of mentions in recent weeks as the Tony Award-winning theater actor seems poised to break into big-budget Hollywood fare. His name was discussed in connection with both Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the Harry Osborne role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that eventually went to Dane DeHaan (Chronicle).

Now comes a role Redmayne seems to have already locked up, as he has entered talks to star alongside Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis in the WachowskisJupiter Ascending. The 3D IMAX production is set in a time where humans are at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder and follows a woman who has been targeted for assassination by the queen of the universe. The film will shoot in the first quarter of 2013 as the Wachowskis try to regain their mojo after the financial failure of Cloud Atlas. [Variety]