Casting Calls

Welcome to Casting Calls, the first of a weekly post that will serve as a one-stop-shop so to speak for all casting news going on in Hollywood over the week. We will try to avoid rumors, and stick to roles that have been locked down or are at least in the negotiation stage.

In this weeks edition, “Django Unchained” adds to its already loaded cast, an Oscar winner goes to Wall Street, RoboCop gets it’s villain, Chalize Theron has a “Murder Mystery” to solve, and much more.

So hit the jump to get all the latest news on who got what gig!

First up this week, we get Jonah Hill joining the already star-studded cast for Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti western “Django Unchained”. There is no word yet on who Hill will be playing in the film.

Without knowing who he is playing, I don’t really know how I feel about this casting decision. On the surface level, it seems like an odd choice for the type of film this is. I have always liked Hill, but I’m having a hard time picturing him in a western. With that being said, despite Tarantino’s films usually being hit or miss for me (this one seems destined to be a BIG hit), I have always thought the casts for his films have been consistently great. I’ll just have to wait for the first footage we see with Hill to get a better idea of what type of role he will be playing.

Hill will join a cast featuring the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Gerald McRaney, Dennis Christopher, Laura Cayouette, M.C. Gainey, Don Johnson, Kerry Washington, and Anthony LaPaglia.
“Django Unchained” hits theaters December 25th.

Up next we have the 2011 Oscar winner for Best Actor, Jean Dujardin, in talks to join “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Dujardin would join Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jonah Hill (I swear this isn’t a post about these two guys) in the film based on Jordan Belfort’s best-selling memoir.

The film follows the rise and fall of Belfort (DiCaprio) on Wall Street, along with his partying lifestyles that lead to alcohol and drug addiction. Dujardin would play a Swiss banker who gets involved in Belfort’s illegal dealings. This movie has Oscar Nominee written all over it.

Even though I thought “The Artist” - Dujardin’s performance included - was highly overrated, I still am interested to see where his career goes. My problems with “The Artist” had nothing to do with his overall acting ability, so it will be good to see what he can do with a modern role. “The Wolf of Wall Street” will begin production in New York in August.

Keeping with the whole biopic theme, Colin Farrell is in negotiations to join the John Lee Hancock directed film, “Saving Mr. Banks”. He will join a cast featuring Tom Hanks, and Emma Thompson.

The film follows the life of P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), who wrote “Mary Poppins”. The film will jump between 1907 and 1961 covering Travers’ childhood in Queensland and her negotiations with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and his team while making the film. Colin Farrell would play Travers’ father, who is the inspiration for Mr. Banks in “Mary Poppins”.

This is the first I’m hearing about this movie, but I already am really intrigued by the whole thing. "Mary Poppins" has always been one of my favorite musicals/live-action Disney movies. It will be nice to get a look at the woman who brought it to life, and it doesn’t hurt that I love all three of its main cast members. This should definitely be in the Oscar discussion when it comes out.

Disney plans to begin production this fall.

The last sort of big bit of casting news this week involves Charlize Theron playing one of the main characters in a murder-mystery comedy, appropriately titled “Murder Mystery”. Theron is already producing the film, which is being directed by John Madden (“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”).

The film follows a couple who get caught up in a whodunit situation while on vacation. If it wasn’t for Theron’s involvement in this film, I probably wouldn’t have any interest in this whatsoever, I would just chalk it up to being another comedy/thriller. Anytime that Theron is involved with a film though, it tends to up the quality quite a bit. Now let's just wait and see who we get to star opposite her.

Production should begin sometime early next year. Up until then, Charlize will head for Africa to shoot “Mad Max: Fury Road”.

That takes care of all the biggest casting bits for the week, now will fire through some of the less prominent roles.

- Benicio Del Toro will headline “AKA Jimmy Picard”. The film is directed by Arnaud Desplechin, and focuses on a Native American soldier, who after World War II, struggles with a psychosomatic illness. I feel bad not including this in with the bigger casting news, but while I think Del Toro definitely has the acting ability to hang with the folks up top, I just don’t think this film will have the broad appeal to warrant it.

- Next up, Bill Paxton (a personal favorite of the folks at this site) has been cast in the upcoming graphic novel “2 Guns”. Paxton, who will be playing a CIA agent, joins a cast that already includes Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, and Paula Patton.

Plot Synopsis via ComingSoon:
“2 Guns” is a pulp story about cops and thieves and the men that are something in between. In the graphic novel, Trench has targeted a local bank to rob, and asked Steadman in on the job. Trench figures it's a great way to score – considering it's a cover for mob money. They'll be thieves ripping off thieves. But what Steadman doesn't know is that Trench is a DEA agent. And what Trench doesn't know is that Steadman's got his own secret and isn't who he appears to be.
Well with a cast like that, and the fact the graphic novels almost always translate into great films, its safe to say that “2 Guns” is a film that I can’t wait to see.

- Hugh Laurie (Fox’s “House”) has signed on to play the villain in the remake of “RoboCop”. The cast features Joel Kinnaman ("The Killing"), Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson. Kinnaman will play a cop named Alex Murphy who is brought back from the brink of death and turned into a cyborg police officer. Oldman will play his scientist-creator and Jackson will portray a media mogul.
Laurie will play the evil and ultra-rich CEO of Omnicorp, the company that makes RoboCop.

While this news doesn’t jump out at me, I think this is a pretty safe choice here. I know “House” has a pretty big following, and should definitely bring some fans who might not have cared enough to see another remake otherwise. I haven’t watched a ton of episodes of “House”, but from what I have watched, I don’t think Laurie should have any problems playing an asshole.

- Speaking of remakes, the upcoming remake of “Carrie” has added two new names to its cast: Portia Doubleday (“Youth in Revolt”) and Judy Greer (“The Descendants”). They will join Chloe Moretz who is playing the title role of Carrie.

Doubleday will play the central antagonist, Chris Hargensen, and Judy Greer will play gym teacher, Miss Desjardin.

I should note that the studio is saying the film is less a remake of the original film, and more of a retelling of the Stephen King story the first film was based on.

For those of you not familiar with the story, “Carrie” was King's first published novel and tells the story of a high school girl who, through telekinetic powers, takes revenge on peers that have mocked her.

Well that wraps up this week's edition of Casting Calls. Be sure to check back every Monday for all the latest casting news and notes! Any of this news spark your attention? Do you think any of these seem like bad choices?