Casting Calls

Thanks for checking out Casting Calls, a weekly roundup of all the notable roles that actors and actresses have scored for upcoming films. As always, we will try to avoid rumors, and stick to roles that have been locked down or are in the negotiation stage.

In this weeks edition, Tobey Maguire and Willem Dafoe snag two roles, Jake Gyllenhaal has a gambling problem, and much more.

So hit the jump to see who got what gig!

To start us off this week, we learned that Tobey Maguire has landed two new roles this week: “Pawn Sacrifice” and “Z for Zachariah”.

The first film, “Pawn Sacrifice”, tells the story of famous Chess prodigy Bobby Fischer. The film will follow his life leading up to his historic world championship match with Boris Spassky. Maguire, who will produce the movie, is set to play the role of Fischer.

The film was originally supposed to have David Fincher direct, but those duties have now fallen to Edward Zwick.

The second film Maguire landed this week, “Z for Zachariah”, which is a post-apocalyptic film based on the Robert C. O'Brien novel.
Official Synopsis for the book:
 Ann Burden is sixteen years old and completely alone. The world as she once knew it is gone, ravaged by a nuclear war that has taken everyone from her. For the past year, she has lived in a remote valley with no evidence of any other survivors.
But the smoke from a distant campfire shatters Ann's solitude. Someone else is still alive and making his way toward the valley. Who is this man? What does he want? Can he be trusted? Both excited and terrified, Ann soon realizes there may be worse things than being the last person on Earth.
Maguire will play a gritty scientist with a dark past, and like “Pawn Sacrifice”, he will produce this film as well. The film is being written and directed by Craig Zobel.

Our next bit of news this week involves another actor who snagged a pair of films this week. Willem Dafoe has landed roles in the upcoming films “A Most Wanted Man” and “Whiskey Bay”.

“A Most Wanted Man” was originally supposed to star Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Rachel McAdams, but those two have since been replaced by Dafoe and Robin Wright.
Plot synopsis via Comingsoon:
 The film takes place in present day Hamburg, Germany where a mysterious, tortured and near-dead half-Chechen, half-Russian man on the run arrives in the city's Islamic community desperate for help and looking to recover his late Russian father's ill-gotten fortune. Nothing about this young man seems to add up; is he a victim or a thief or, worse still, an extremist intent on destruction? Drawn into this web of intrigue is a private British banker and a young female lawyer determined to defend the defenseless. All the while, they are being watched by the brilliant, roguish chief of a covert German spy unit, who fights to put the pieces together as the clock ticks.
The film is being directed by Anton Corbijn(The American).
With “Whiskey Bay”, we also learned that Matt Dillon will also be starring alongside Dafoe. The independent crime thriller follows a police officer (Dafoe) who must work with a white supremacist (Dillon) that he arrested to take down a hate group from the inside.

The film is being produced by Chris Brinker, who will also make his directorial debut with the film.

Next up this week we learned that Jake Gyllenhaal will produce, and has begun negotiations to star in the upcoming film “Mississippi Grind”. 
The film follows an aging gambler who takes a road trip across the American south along with a young gambling addict(Gyllenhaal).

The film will be co-directed and written by  Boden and Ryan Fleck.

No start date has been set for production, but I like the premise of this film already. I’ve never been a gambler myself, and certainly not when money is involved but I have always enjoyed films on the subject. They always do a great job of reinforcing my decision to not gamble. I like Gyllenhaal and now I’ll just have to wait to see if they can land another solid actor to play the older gambler in the film.
Our next news this week involves two actors who are definitely on the rise, Tom Hardy and Michael Shannon. The two will team up for the feature film adaptation of Brett C. Leonard's play, “The Long Red Road”.
Official synopsis for the play:
 A devastating new play about the impact of addiction, The Long Red Road introduced audiences to Sammy, who has fled his past and landed in South Dakota, where he is slowly drinking himself to death. When his young daughter arrives desperate to reunite with her father, he must decide between the self-hatred that consumes him and the responsibilities he’s tried to leave behind.
The play had been previously adapted for the stage by Phillip Seymour Hoffman (I’m trying to think of the most I’ve mentioned an actor without him actually being involved in any of the news) and also starred Tom Hardy as Sammy. Hardy will reprise his role as Sammy, and Shannon will play the role of Sammy’s brother, Bob.

Here’s one guy who will watch any movie that Hardy and Shannon are in, so the fact that they are starring together puts this one really high up on my list. Couple that with the fact that I always enjoy films about drinking, because they are generally very powerful films when taken from a serious angle, and this film jumps even higher.

No director has been chosen for the film.
Before we go into our speed round, it wouldn’t be Casting Calls without our weekly section rounding up all of the new members to join the cast of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”. I feel like at this point I should just do a separate post for all the actors to join the film, but it would only consist of one sentence: Hollywood joins “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”. While we didn’t have quite the slew of actors we had last week, the film did add two new faces to the cast. You can forget me listing previous cast members attached from this point on, although I haven’t been doing that for awhile anyway.
The first member to join the cast this week is Maria Howell. Howell will play the role of Seeder, a former champion from District 11. She will compete in the 75th Annual Hunger Games, also called the Quarter Quell.

The second actress to snag a role this week is Stephanie Leigh Schlund. Schlund will be playing, you guessed it folks, another career tribute named Cashmere, from District 1. She will also be competing in, you guessed it folks, the 75th Annual Hunger Games.

You’ll have to forgive my little mini rant on the film this week but seriously, it’s getting a little ridiculous at this point. Do they honestly expect us to even remember a quarter of these names where being given? I haven’t read the books but I feel like the first half of the second books had to have just been a bunch of names listed off.

Okay, that wraps up all the big news this week, at least the news that has given us enough information about the films to put at the top. Now we’ll go through some of the weeks less prominent roles and some of the roles starring big name actors, but roles that we don’t have a lot of info on.

-Fran Kranz (Cabin in the Woods) has snagged the lead role in “Murder of a Cat”. The film is being directed by Sam Raimi’s wife, Gillian Greene-Raimi. The film is a dark comedy noir about a guy trying to figure out the murder of his pet cat. Why might one do this, my only guess would be to find the person and thank them. This is one of the most utterly ridiculous premises I’ve ever heard, but I did like the guy in Cabin so I’ll at least watch the trailer. Source: Comingsoon

-Two new actors have been added to the cast for “Kick-Ass 2”. Robert Emms will be playing the role of a policeman who becomes the superhero Insect Man, and joins Kick-Ass’ Justice League inspired crime fighting group Justice Forever.

The second actor is Morris Chestnut who has taken over the role of Hit Girl's guardian, previously played by Omari Hardwick. We’re not sure if he’s supposed to be playing the same character or a new guy altogether.


Carey Mulligan (a personal favorite of Alex Schopp) is in talks to headline the black comedy, “Nancy and Danny”. The film would star Mulligan as a small town woman who pulls a guy into a botched get-rich-quick scheme.

-Zoe Saldana will headline the biopic “Nina”, based on the life of musician Nina Simone. Cynthia Mort will write and direct the film.

-Winona Ryder is in talks to take a role in the action thriller “Homefront”. The film is already starring Jason Statham and James Franco. I said last time I mentioned this film, that I would be more interested if we got some more actors/actresses that I like; well count Winona Ryder in the plus column for this movie. It’s just gotten a little higher on my interest meter.

-This news would normally seem like it would garner more importance in this post considering the actor, director, and film involved, but the role appears to be small, and it got announced at the last minute so that’s why it’s all the way down here. Samuel L. Jackson has joined the cast of Spike Lee’s remake of “Old Boy”. Like I said, this is a pretty prominent project, but the only thing it mentions about Jackson’s character is that he is in a scene where he is tortured by protagonist Josh Brolin.

-John Goodman is in talks to take a small part in “The Hangover Part III”. The role would have him playing a villain similar to the role Paul Giamatti played in the first film. Source: Variety

Last up this week, Robert Pattinson has taken a role in the upcoming film “Queen of the Desert”. The film also stars Naomi Watts as Gertrude Bell.
Official synopsis via Variety:
 “Queen of the Desert” will chronicle Bell's life as a writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer and political attache for the British Empire. One of the first women to graduate from Oxford at the turn of the 20th century, she traveled through the Middle East, defining the borders of Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia."
Pattinson, who has been described by my friend Kyle Fredrick as “the Nickelback of acting”, will play the role of T.E. Lawrence, a British Army officer whose writing earned him fame as Lawrence of Arabia, on whom David Lean's classic film is based. By the way, I’m actually fine with Pattinson as an actor outside of the Twilight series, I just thought that quote was hilarious.

Well that wraps up this weeks edition of Casting Calls, short and sweet. 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?