The Casting Couch: October 5, 2006

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A long list of casting notes today as we begin with Halle Berry, whom we have heard very little about lately as she has signed on to star in Class Act for writer/director Doug Atchison and DreamWorks Pictures. The story has Berry playing Tierney Cahill, a teacher from Reno, Nev., who took a challenge from her sixth-grade students to run for Congress in the 2000 elections on the condition that they would help run her campaign. The single mother ultimately lost her bid to an incumbent, but she ended up winning 35% of the popular vote. [Variety]

Next we find out that Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges is joining the cast of Fred Claus, the Vince Vaughn comedy over at Warner Bros. David Dobkin is directing the film in which Vaughn plays Santa’s loser brother living in New York who returns home to the North Pole and almost ruins Christmas. Ludacris will play an angry elf. The rest of the cast includes Paul Giamatti, Kevin Spacey, John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks. The film is currently slated for a November 9, 2007 release. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Sissy Spacek, Troy Garity and musician Dave Matthews have all made way for Lake City in which Spacek and Garity will play a mother and son who have been estranged after a tragedy. They reunite under dire circumstances in order to save their home. Matthews will play the villain. Principal photography begins Monday in Virginia. [The Hollywood Reporter]

The Alien vs. Predator sequel continues to hunt down the lesser knowns as Shareeka Epps, John Ortiz and Johnny Lewis have been cast in Alien vs. Predator: Survival of the Fittest. Epps will play Kendra, a young girl who must protect her little brother. Ortiz will play a recently elected sheriff. Lewis will play Ricky, a troubled kid. This is getting exciting. [The Hollywood Reporter]

This was announced yesterday, but I didn’t report it so here goes… Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Martin Short and Joan Plowright to join The Spiderwick Chronicles while Izabella Miko and Andrew McCarthy have already boarded the project. Mark Waters is directing the feature based on the best-selling books by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi centering on twin brothers Jared and Simon who, along with their sister Mallory uncover a world of fairies and other creatures. [The Hollywood Reporter]

David Ayer will be rewriting and directing Mafia Cop for Mandalay and Universal Pictures. Dan Gordon penned the first draft of the screenplay. The police hitman saga is based on the life and story of Louis Eppolito, who was convicted this past spring of murdering for the mob while serving as an NYPD detective. Eppolito, whose father was a member of Gotham’s Gambino crime family, and his NYPD partner Stephen Caracappa are currently serving life sentences after a jury found them guilty of eight murders committed from 1986 to 1990. Three of them were mob hits they carried out directly — including sometimes using the lights on their patrol car to pull over the victims. Eppolito left the force in 1990, followed by Caracappa in 1990, and prosecutors soon began investigating their work for the Mafia, but the two weren’t charged and arrested until 2005. [Variety]

Abigail Breslin will be starring opposite Ryan Reynolds in Definitely, Maybe for Working Title and Universal Pictures. Filming begins this week in New York. The story follows a divorcing dad whose daughter begins to ask some difficult questions about his love life before marriage. [Variety]

In other little girl news Elle Fanning will be starring in Reservation Road as the daughter of Joaquin Phoenix‘s character. The film also stars Mark Ruffalo and will be directed by Terry George when filming begins in Connecticut. [Variety]

Niecy Nash will be lending her voice to the animated feature Horton Hears a Who as Miss Yelp, secretary to the mayor of Who-ville (Steve Carell). [Variety]

Tony Hale will be lending his voice to The Tale of Despereaux as the title character’s treacherous brother mouse. [Variety]

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