The Casting Couch: November 20, 2006

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This edition of The Casting Couch is catching up on about five days of casting, book optioning, directing and whatever else kind of information and as you will see there was nothing all that important going on. There are a couple of interesting tidbits here and there, but trust me you haven’t been missing much.

First off we start with probably the most notable name in the bunch as Pierce Brosnan is set to return to the spy world with Spy vs. Stu for New Line Cinema. Based on an original screenplay from the writing team of Keith Mitchell and Allie Dvorin, the comedy centers on Stu, a commitment-phobe who plans to propose to his girlfriend during an island vacation. Unbeknownst to him, a handsome, debonair spy (Brosnan) is on the other end of the island, having just finished saving the world. When the bored spy takes a serious liking to Stu’s girl, Stu is forced to compete with the ultrasuave superspy in order to win the heart of his true love. There is no director attached as of yet. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Okay, so maybe Brosnan isn’t the only known name in this edition as a whole fleet of names are set to join Raoul Ruiz’s directorial outing Love and Virtue. Among the names are John Malkovich, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Peter O’Toole, Stephen Dillane, Damian Lewis, Saffron Burrows and Virginie Ledoyen. The period epic follows the battles that raged within King Charlemagne’s empire. Lewis toplines as a knight in King Charlemagne’s court who falls for Ledoyen’s character. Malkovich and Madsen play barbarian marauders. Dillane plays Charlemagne, the first ruler of a united Western Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire. The cast also includes Leonor Varela (Blade II), Vincent Perez (Nouvelle-France), Cristian de la Fuente (“CSI: Miami”), Anna Massey (The Importance of Being Earnest) and child thesps Alexa Rey and Boo Boo Stewart. The pic is scheduled to begin shooting March 21 on location in Belgium and Luxembourg before moving to London. [Variety]

In trying to keep the first few news bites about stories you will actually want to read I bring you the news that Anjelica Huston is set to direct Give Us a Kiss for Focus Features. The film is based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell, a comic novelist who has penned books about hijinx in poorer regions of the Midwestern mountain range. Angus MacLachlan, who scripted Junebug, is attached to adapt the Woodrell novel concerning a crime novelist, his underachieving brother and a pot deal gone awry. [Variety]

Next we learn that Rainn Wilson and Jason Reitman are teaming for Bonzai Shadowhands for Fox Searchlight. Wilson is penning the script as a starring vehicle for himself with Reitman attached to direct. The story details are vague but it is known to be about a once-great ninja who is now living a life of mediocrity. How this one came to be is fantastic as The Hollywood Reporter quotes Wilson saying, “I was in a Starbucks, and a young fellow walked in and he said to me, ‘Hi, you don’t know me, but my name is Jason Reitman, and I’m Ivan’s son. I want to do a movie with you, and would you play a ninja?’ ” Wilson recalled. “I felt like I was discovered at Schwab’s.” Reitman is responsible for Thank You For Smoking and is in preproduction on Juno, a comedic drama starring Ellen Page. Production is scheduled to start at the end of January. [The Hollywood Reporter]

As production got underway for David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises last week we learned of two new names joining the cast. Armin Mueller-Stahl and Sinead Cusack will co-star opposite Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts in the pic which follows the mysterious and ruthless Nikolai (Mortensen), who is tied to one of London’s most notorious organized crime families. His carefully maintained existence is jarred when he crosses paths with Anna (Naomi Watts), an innocent midwife trying to right a wrong, who accidentally uncovers potential evidence against the family. Now Nikolai must put into motion a harrowing chain of murder, deceit, and retribution. Filming is underway for a September 2007 release. [The Hollywood Reporter]

I am not a fan of Tyler Perry’s stuff, but I know people that are so this news should get a few of you interested as Lionsgate is sticking with the comedian by acquiring his next two films Why Did I Get Married? and A Jazz Man’s Blues. Married is an adaptation of Perry’s play revolving around the joys and trials of matrimony. The movie is expected to begin production in January, just before Perry’s third film, Daddy’s Little Girls, releases February 14. Blues tells the story of a young black jazz singer who after leaving his rural town in search of fame is drawn back home to save a woman he had an affair with years ago. Production on Blues will begin in the summer. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Next we learn that Ben Falcone has landed the voice of Teacher Mouse in Universal’s animated flick The Tale of Despereaux. [Variety]

The Broken Lizard boys are at it again as we learn that members Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme have scripted a little pic called Funny Fat Guy, which was picked up by Warner Bros. with Heffernan set to star. The storyline revolves around the stereotypical funny fat man who is the life of the party and everyone’s mascot. Sick of his lovelorn status, he decides to transform himself, Eliza Doolittle-style. [Variety]

Columbia Pictures has acquired the feature film rights to Judith Viorst’s children’s classic “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” with Mike Bender aboard to adapt the screenplay. The book, published in 1972, humorously details the trials and tribulations of a young boy who is experiencing one of his worst days ever. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Yet another children’s book is headed to the big screen, this time it is “Camp Creepy Time,” which was written by actress Gina Gershon and her brother, Dann Gershon. Richard LaGravenese will write the script about a young boy who’s sent to a summer camp. While there he discovers that the haunt is little more than an alien-run smuggling operation. And the camp counselors are turning children into monsters, and shipping them off to zoos on planets ar

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