The Casting Couch: October 27, 2006

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Ben Kingsley and Emily Mortimer have joined Dan Fogler and Ewan McGregor in Number Thirteen for writer/director Chase Palmer who is making his directorial debut. The film finds Fogler playing a young Alfred Hitchcock as he tried to make Number Thirteen, a first film he never completed. In the fictional storyline, the director becomes involved in his own Hitchcockian dilemma involving romance and murder. [Variety]

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh are all set to star in The Children of Huang Shi for Roger Spottiswoode. The pic is set in war-ravaged China during the late 1930s, Huang Shi is based on true events. It’s the story of a young Englishman, George Hogg (Rhys Meyers), who led 60 orphaned boys on a journey across the Liu Pan Shan mountains to safety on the edge of the Mongolian desert. Shooting begins on November 13 in the western province of Gansu, the studios of Hengdian in south-east China, and Melbourne, Australia from the Jane Hawksley penned script. [Variety | Production Weekly]

Samuel L. Jackson is set to star in The Cleaner, a thriller centered on Tom (Jackson), an extremely hygienic man who uses this urge in his professional life as a crime scene cleaner. When he somehow becomes involved in a job he later finds out was a covered up murder, he gets tied in to a web of deception, that unearth his own family’s long buried pain and secrets. Filming is expected to take place over a course of seven weeks beginning January 2007 in locations around Shreveport, Louisiana. [Production Weekly]

Ken Russell is set to direct Kings X, a thriller starring Robert Carlyle, Kevin Spacey, Ray Winstone and Leslie (Twiggy) Lawson. The pic is set in a bustling inner city area where everyone is on the make. The King of Kings X is Colin Manks a sharp, smooth talking up-market low life whose narcissism leads him to record his life on his camera phone for posterity. He falls for Hattie an Essex girl property agent whose crooked boss has her doing dodgey deals she’s too naive and self important to question. When they cheat Colin Manks he wants revenge, with interest. Drugs, Prostitution Murder everything goes in the urban jungle. Chris Cleverly penned the script and filming is currently in pre-production. [Production Weekly]

Peter and Bobby Farrelly will direct The Baster for Columbia Pictures. The pic is a romantic comedy about infertility based on the short story by Jeffrey Eugenides, which was adapted by Allan Loeb. [Variety]

Heather Graham and Dylan McDermott have joined the cast of A West Texas Children’s Story for director Brad Isaacs. The 1960 period drama revolves around two 12-year-olds who embark on an adventure to improve their lives after living with abusive parents. AnnaSophia Robb and Cayden Boyd play the children. The film is shooting in Albuquerque, N.M. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Mark Waters will direct an untitled adventure film for Walden Media centered on a 14-year-old boy who discovers that he is a descendant of the great illusionist Harry Houdini. Upon hearing the news of his lineage he embarks on a journey to unravel the secrets of Houdini’s past, uncovering a legacy the famed magician was trying to protect. Jessica Tuchinsky, Waters’ producing partner at Watermark Pictures, will produce along with her husband, Jason Hoffs who told The Hollywood Reporter, “The movie takes place in the present, but our lead character and the audience will learn some of the secrets of what Houdini was really up to.” The production still needs a writer. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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