I’m going to lead off with some The Hobbit casting news for you, as announced by Peter Jackson on his facebook page. New Zealand actor Dean O’Gorman will play Fili and join the set this week. The Elven King Thranduil will be played by Lee Pace (The Fall), who Jackson says “came into mind almost immediately” for the part. I have no idea what any of this means, so I’ll leave it at that and let you discuss amongst yourselves.
Perhaps a good sign for how Bridesmaids is tracking, THR reports another comedy about bridesmaids is underway from producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. This one is an indie tentatively titled Bachelorette. Kirsten Dunst, Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan and Casey Wilson (“Happy Endings”) are all attached for writer/director Leslye Headland, a staff writer on the FX show “Terriers.” Dunst and Kaplan will play two of three best friends invited to serve as bridesmaids for a girl they called “Pigface” in high school. The third friend has not yet been cast, though Wilson will play “Pigface” and Scott will play Caplan’s high school crush who shows up at the wedding with a beautiful and much younger date.
Rachel Weisz is negotiating to play the evil witch in Oz: The Great and Powerful, according to Heat Vision. Sam Raimi’s pseudo-prequel to The Wizard of Oz already has James Franco on board as Oz and Mila Kunis playing the good witch being seduced to the dark side by her sister (Weisz).
It looks like Danny Boyle (127 Hours) has found a little time in his schedule to direct another film in-between his stage play of “Frankenstein” and his duties directing the opening ceremonies of next summer’s Olympics in London as Deadline reports he’ll direct Trance this September. The film is a dark, sexy and hard-edged crime thriller centering on an art heist gone wrong. The film is expected in 2013 with Boyle and his producing partner Christian Colson in talks with Fox Searchlight and Pathe for funding and worldwide distribution.
We also just received word that Piranha 3DD is bringing back a few survivors from the first film as Christopher Lloyd, Ving Rhames and Paul Scheer have all signed on to take another dip in the water. This comes on the heels of news that surfaced yesterday that “30 Rock” star and recently named Esquire Magazine’s 2011 Sexiest Woman Alive, Katrina Bowden, will join previous announced cast members Gary Busey, Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush, Chris Zylka, David Koechner, Meagan Tandy, Paul James Jordan, Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Hector Jimenez, Adrian Martinez and Clu Gulager. Filming is now underway for a November 23 release.
As the world turns on Universal’s continued search for the titular Huntsman in Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman news has now surfaced that Sam Claflin (whom you can see on this embarrassing poster for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) has signed on to play the prince opposite Kristen Stewart’s Snow White in the film, which is due in theaters on December 21, 2012.
Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Alien vs. Predator) will direct the period volcano adventure Pompeii for Summit Entertainment. The film is set in 79 A.D. and recounts the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the destruction of the ancient Roman city, complete with an epic Titanic-esque love story. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a good Volcano movie so I’d love to be excited, but I’m not sure I can trust Anderson to deliver a “good” anything. THR‘s sources speculate a spring 2012 start for filming.
Greta Gerwig (Arthur, Greenberg) will star in the romantic comedy Lola Versus, with Variety reporting Orlando Bloom is in negotiations to co-star. Daryl Wein (Breaking Upwards) will direct and again collaborate on the script with Zoe Lister Jones, who will also co-star. Gerwig plays a woman who is dumped just weeks before her wedding (by Bloom), inspiring her to find her place in the world as a single woman before she turns 30. Fox Searchlight is the likely distributor.
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, The Adjustment Bureau) continues his path as one of the fastest rising stars in Hollywood and might secure a couple more high profile roles in the coming weeks. Variety reports he currently has an offer to star alongside Brad Pitt in the zombie epic World War Z from director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace). Mackie is also nearing a deal to join Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer’s crime drama Gangster Squad, which at last check had Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin in line for major roles. He’ll next be seen with Hugh Jackman in Real Steel and has also secured a role in the big screen adaptation of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, so it appears it’s only a matter of time before Mackie gets his own big starring vehicle.
Next is big news on the future of the Terminator franchise from Latino Review‘s Dave Gonzales, who claims to have it from a “real source” that the pitch for Terminator 2012 (aka Terminator 5) involves bringing back the “entire original cast” and involves time travel back to the present day. I’m not sure how literally we should take the word “entire,” but it surely implies bringing back Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor and Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese, right? Does this have you more excited for the film than simply bringing Arnie back into the fold?
Unsurprisingly, when Marvel Films’ co-chief Kevin Feige sat down with The Playlist‘s Leah Zak, he revealed plans to announce the studio’s next batch of projects “towards the end of the summer.” Comic-Con takes place July 21-24, so that’s a definite possibility for such an announcement. The most likely candidates for this 2013 and 2014 slate of films include solo features for The Avengers characters Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), as well as a stand-alone S.H.I.E.L.D. film. Feige also mentioned Doctor Strange, Black Panther and the proposed Ant-Man film from director Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). Any favorites or predictions among that group?
Music video director Scott Speer will make the step up (sorry, that was unavoidable) to features and helm Step Up 4 for Summit Entertainment. Deadline reports the new film will take place in Miami, since setting is so important in these films, and will be done in 3D like the last installment. Jon Chu, who directed the last two entries in the franchise, will stick around as executive producer.
Given all the director and natural disaster-induced delays for The Wolverine, it looks like Hugh Jackman could use something to fill the time. And Deadline reports he is now the number one choice of director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) to star in the James Cameron-produced 3D remake of Fantastic Voyage. The 1966 original involves shrunken submarines and scientists attempting to save a colleague’s life from within his bloodstream. Levy and Jackman have already collaborated (and reportedly got along quite well) on the October 2011 release Real Steel, so this would make a lot of sense.
Variety reports William Peterson, Adam Brody and Rob Corddry have all entered negotiations to join Steve Carell and Keira Knightley in the doomsday drama Seeking a Friend at the End of the World. The directorial debut from Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist screenwriter Lorene Scafaria takes place at a time when an incoming asteroid threatens to end life on Earth, while one man (Carell) seeks out his high school sweetheart with his neighbor (Knightley) at his side. Peterson hasn’t done much since leaving CSI in 2009, so it would be nice to see him back on the screen.
And finally, it’s another day so that means another casting announcement for the Rock of Ages movie musical. Deadline reports this is the final piece of the casting puzzle, as Malin Akerman (Watchmen, The Heartbreak Kid) has signed for the role of a journalist who intends to write an expose on decadent rocker Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise, but instead falls victim to his charms). Akerman is hardly the first choice for the role, as director Adam Shankman’s first two options (Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams) turned down the part in favor of their respective roles in The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel, but it is hers nonetheless.