Benedict Cumberbatch

What is Casting Couch? A big list of casting news. Today we’ve got word on who’s going to play the new Hercules. And no, we’re not talking about Dwayne Johnson. The other new Hercules. The new new one.

Big things are happening over on Guillermo del Toro’s haunted house project, Crimson Peak. Plot details are still being kept under wraps, but we do know that Emma Stone and Charlie Hunnam are already on board to co-star, and we do know that del Toro is approaching the film as a throwback to the classic haunted house movies of yesteryear. And now, thanks to Variety, we also know that star-on-the-rise Benedict Cumberbatch has been brought on board in a lead role. As if starring in Sherlock, the new Star Trek, and The Hobbit wasn’t already enough to make him a geek icon, now he has to go and work with del Toro. If he keeps this up he could soon find himself at the center of one of those trusty geek backlashes.

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Cumberbatch isn’t the only name joining Crimson Peak either. Just hours after they let us in on that scoop, Variety was back again with the news that Zero Dark Thirty star Jessica Chastain is also in negotiations to come get haunted. If Chastain’s negotiations, which are said to be far along, lead to her officially signing, it would make for the second haunted house movie that she and del Toro were both involved in, as she also starred in last year’s Mama, which he produced. And it would also mean that Crimson Peak has compiled possibly the most talented principal cast in horror movie history. Who can look at that lineup and not get excited? Dueling redheads!

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Tammy, Melissa McCarthy’s directorial debut, seems to be in the process of wrapping up its casting. The film stars McCarthy herself as a down on her luck lady who ends up going on a road trip with her cantankerous grandmother (Susan Sarandon). We already know that Mark Duplass has joined the cast as a dude who they meet somewhere along their trip, and now Variety is reporting that Allison Janney is in negotiations to join the film as the McCarthy character’s mother. This, of course, is a little bit weird, because if you go by their real-life ages, that would mean Janney had her daughter at age 11. But, hey, movie magic.

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Also newly reported on the Tammy casting front is the news that Dan Aykroyd is in negotiations to join the film as well. For his part, he’ll be playing the father of Duplass’ character. Given the twenty-four-year age gap between the two actors, this is a choice that makes way more sense. You know, if you’re willing to believe that a Canadian could give birth to an American. But, hey, movie magic. Either way, the report of Aykroyd’s recruitment also comes from Variety, who intimates that his would be the last of the big roles this movie needs to fill. Sounds like it’s time to get shooting.

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Can’t get enough Jacki Weaver? You’re not alone. Ever since her turn in Animal Kingdom got so much awards recognition, she’s been on fire, and the roles just keep coming her way. Deadline has word of the latest job she’s taken, which will see her starring opposite Gena Rowlands in an indie called 6 Dance Lessons in 6 Weeks. This one puts a retired woman (Rowlands) in an antagonistic relationship with a beefcake dance instructor (Cheyenne Jackson) and follows them as sparks fly over the course of six weeks. Weaver is said to be playing Irene, one of the instructor’s students who’s described as being a “sassy vixen,” so don’t expect any crabby snacks or homemades here.

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David O. Russell’s next film still, after all of these weeks, doesn’t have a new title to replace its old handle of American Bullshit. But, as has been mentioned many times, it does have one of the most jam-packed and impressive ensemble casts one could imagine—Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis CK, they’re all on board. It turns out Russell still isn’t done adding first rate names to his film though. The latest news, from Deadline, is that he’s now added End of Watch actor Michael Peña to the cast. Is there any actor in the industry today who’s blowing up faster than Peña? Possibly, but not many, and now that he’s going to be rubbing elbows with this many A-list names in one movie, he has to be seen as being at the head of the pack.

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Like the idea of watching a movie about Hercules but don’t like Brett Ratner or Dwayne Johnson? No problem! It turns out there’s now a competing Hercules project in the works, called Hercules 3D, that’s going to add some choice to the marketplace. That’s the good news. The bad news is that if you see this one, it’s true that you’re avoiding a Brett Ratner film, but you’re still going to have to see a Renny Harlin movie, because he’s the guy directing. And if Dwayne Johnson’s smiling and sweating isn’t your thing, you’ll get a chance to avoid it, but in return you’ll have to see a movie starring one of the dudes from Twilight. That’s because Heat Vision is reporting that Twilight actor Kellen Lutz has just landed the lead role and will be playing the muscly demigod. Maybe we should still just see the Ratner version?


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