The Casting Couch: November 2, 2006

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This might be our most star packed edition of “The Casting Couch” yet so let’s get started as Luke Wilson has joined Jessica Simpson in Blonde Ambition an unnecessary remake of the 1988 Melanie Griffith starrer Working Girl. Producer Justin Berfield told MTV, “It’s basically about a young woman’s journey into the corporate empire. She starts at the bottom and works her way to the top… The second we got the script, we just knew we had to go to her first, and fortunately she fell in love with the script as well.” Wilson will most likely be taking on the role originated by Harrison Ford. Andy Dick is apparently in talks to play an evil secretary as filmind is expected to begin on November 27 in Shreveport, LA for a summer 2008 release. The original won Griffith an Oscar nomination, I see this one earning Simpson a Razzie. [MTV]

Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson are set to star in Black Water Transit for director Samuel Bayer from a Doug Richardson script. The pic follows the divergent agendas of criminals, cops and lawyers as they collide over a shipment of illegal firearms and a double homicide. Willis plays Earl Pike, a criminal who tries to get his family’s illegal gun collection to a safe haven. The film is targeted to go into production February 12 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Willis and Jackson have starred together several times including Pulp Fiction, Die Hard with a Vengeance and Unbreakable. [Production Weekly]

Keri Russell, Alessandro Nivola and Elias Koteas have joined Sigourney Weaver and Kate Bosworth in playwright David Auburn‘s psychological thriller The Girl In The Park. Auburn who penned the script will make his directorial debut on the film, scheduled to begin filming November 13 in New York. [Production Weekly]

The Battle in Seattle continues to attract attention as Michelle Rodriguez, Jennifer Carpenter, Channing Tatum and Tzi Ma have joined Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, Ray Liotta, Andre Benjamin and Martin Henderson in the Stuart Townsend directed pic. The film is a political actioner set against the backdrop of the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. During the five-day WTO meeting, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Seattle. What started out as a peaceful protest intended to stop the talks escalated into a riot and eventual state of emergency, with the National Guard called in. Production begins November 6 taking in locations around Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington. [Production Weekly]

Robert De Niro and 50 Cent? Okay, fine. The duo are in final negotiations to co-star in New Orleans, a police thriller set to be directed by Tim Hunter. The film centers on a cop (De Niro) who thinks his partner has died in Hurricane Katrina, only to discover that he was shot to death. When he gets a new partner (50 Cent), the pair investigates the murder, taking them on a journey into a world of police corruption. The film was originally centered in Los Angeles until after Hurrican Katrina. The film is scheduled to begin filming in February. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Jesse Metcalfe, Nathalie Kelley, Monica Keena, Johnny Messner, Vinnie Jones and rapper Kurupt have all signed on to star in Loaded for director Alan Pao and Corey Large’s Wingman Prods. Metcalfe stars as a rich club kid whose life takes a downward spiral into a world of drugs, sex and violence. Production on the film begins this week in Los Angeles. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Julia Roberts is set to star in The Friday Night Knitting Club for Universal Pictures. The film is based on Kate Jacobs’ upcoming novel centering on a single mom who juggles the demands of running a Manhattan knitting store with raising her spunky teen daughter. Her regular customers gather once a week to work on their latest projects and chat, but when a tragedy occurs, the customers realize they’ve created more than just a knitting club. The pic is in the early stages of development as there is currently no script or director. [Variety]

Colin Firth will be starring in Genova for Michael Winterbottom. In the film Firth will play a recently widowed man who travels to Italy with his teenage daughters in search of a fresh start but can’t escape the ghosts of his past. [Variety]

Lynn Redgrave has earned herself a role in The Jane Austen Book Club joining Maria Bello, Jimmy Smits, Emily Blunt, Kevin Zegers, Hugh Dancy, Maggie Grace and Amy Brenneman in the pic based on Joy Fowler’s bestselling novel centering on six Californians who join together to discuss Jane Austen’s novels. Over the six months they meet, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. The result is a delicious dissection of modern relationships. The film is lensing in L.A. [Variety]

Finally, Leonor Varela has joined the GreeneStreet Films comedy Gary the Tennis Coach. The film stars Seann William Scott and Randy Quaid and centers on an overzealous high school janitor (Scott) who takes on the task of coaching a group of lovable misfits to the Nebraska state championship, overcoming their motley backgrounds in the process. [Variety]

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