Abrams’s ‘Super 8’ Casting, Bateman Goes Wilde and Wahlberg Carried ‘Contraband’


Kyle Chandler

Vulture has the names of the first two cast members for the mysterious J.J. Abrams-Steven Spielberg collaboration Super 8. Kyle Chandler (TV’s Friday Night Lights) and Elle Fanning, who will soon be seen starring in Sofia Coppola’s Oscar-contender Somewhere, have been announced but no details were given about their roles. I didn’t even really think about this until now, but the trailer for the film debuted some four months before any cast members were even announced. Now that’s an interesting promotional strategy.

While out promoting I’m Still Here, Casey Affleck revealed in a radio interview that he’s planning to reunite with his Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford director Andrew Dominick for an adaptation of a crime novel set in Boston. Here’s the quote from Affleck:

I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about it, but it’s a Boston-based crime… It’s based on a novel set in Boston, but it’s not going to be set in Boston, unfortunately.

So apparently the novel itself was set in Boston, but the film adaptation will take place elsewhere. This news seems to have put Dominick’s proposed Blonde, the Marilyn Monroe biopic starring Naomi Watts, on the backburner for now. [Film School Rejects]

Latino Review reports Mark Wahlberg will be joining Kate Beckinsale in Contraband, the remake of the Icelandic thriller Reykjavik-Rotterdam. Baltasar Kormakur, the star and producer of the original film, will take on directing duties for the remake. The plot centers on a security guard whose financial woes force him back into his smuggling ways.

Bryan Cranston

The already massive cast for Steven Soderbergh’s intercontinental virus outbreak film Contagion continues to grow, with The Playlist naming Demetri Martin, Jennifer Ehle, Bryan Cranston and Elliott Gould as the latest to jump on board. Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, John Hawkes, Chin Han and Josie Ho have already been announced for the thriller, which script reviewers have called a “Traffic-like sprawling film about the ramifications of the spread of a global virus.” While the film was originally intended to be shot in 3D, it now looks like that won’t be the case due to some technical glitches with the new “RED Tattoo” camera that Soderbergh would have been the first to use. Shooting begins this month in Hong Kong in Chicago, with Contagion currently slated to hit theaters on October 21, 2011.

Soderbergh’s other in-development film, the spy thriller Haywire, could be facing delays due to a shift in distributors that would make its targeted January 2011 release date highly unlikely. Word is that it is no longer in the hands of Lionsgate and Overture has now taken over the reigns for the film, which boasts a cast featuring Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton, Michael Angarano, Matthieu Kossovits, Channing Tatum and Antonio Banderas, with female MMA fighter Gina Carano in the leading role.

Variety reports Alex Proyas (The Crow, Knowing) will direct Paradise Lost, an adaptation of the epic 17th-century English poem by John Milton for Legendary Pictures. The screenplay has already been doctored by a number or writers (including Lawrence Kasdan), with the most recent draft being turned in by Ryan Condal.

Olivia Wilde

Deadline reports Olivia Wilde has signed to join Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman in The Change-Up, the Universal Pictures comedy from director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers). The House TV doctor seems to be picking up more and more high-profile film roles, and I’d say it’s just a matter of time before she becomes a full-fledged movie star. I could easily see her becoming the next ridiculously sexy female ass-kicker type (a la Angelina Jolie), and that time could come sooner than later if her upcoming roles in The Next Three Days, Tron: Legacy and Cowboys & Aliens are proven successful. Personally, I’ve been in her corner since she made out with Mischa Barton on The O.C..

If you read this site on any sort of a regular basis, you probably know all about Drive, the thriller from director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson) that I feel like I’ve been covering to death. The latest to join the cast is Ron Pearlman, according to Screen Daily. Ryan Gosling stars in the film as a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver for thieves, with Carey Mulligan Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac and Christina Hendricks rounding out the cast.

German director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) is set to direct The Dark Side of the Moon, which is surprisingly not the Pink Floyd rock opera its name might suggest. Adapted from Swiss author Martin Suter’s bestseller by David Marconi (Live Free of Die Hard), the thriller centers on a successful attorney whose life is turned upside down after a mind-opening mushroom trip. Okay, so maybe that Pink Floyd thing wasn’t such a stretch after all. [Variety]

Lastly, Malin Akerman (Watchmen) has joined the Judd Apatow-produced comedy Wanderlust alongside Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux. David Wain (Role Models) will direct and co-write with Ken Marino, with the story revolving around a married couple (Aniston and Rudd) who try escaping modern society by moving from New York. [Variety]