Casting Couch

What is Casting Couch? Despite the fact that the movie business seems to be slow to get back to work after the long weekend, it’s a column that’s managed to dig up a couple exciting casting coups. Bryan Singer out-scooped everybody in the news breaking business today when he suddenly started tweeting big updates on how the cast for his upcoming X-Men: First Class sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, was developing. He started off small by first confirming that a few members of the First Class crew would be returning. He tweeted, “I’d like to officially welcome back James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, & Nicholas Hoult to #XMEN for #DaysOfFuturePast.” But then he got a little crazy and started confirming rumors that actors from his original X-Men movies will be joining the film as well by tweeting, “Thrilled to announce @ianmckellen118 (Ian McKellan) & @SirPatStew (Patrick Stewart) are joining the cast of #XMEN #DaysOfFuturePast #magneto #professorX More to come…” Do you think we could get scenes where old Professor X and Magneto meet young Professor X and Magneto? The head spins with awesome possibilities.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting news column that has a theory casting agents are kind of just coasting going into the Thanksgiving holiday. Bryan Cranston. For a long time he was viewed as being an under appreciated character actor, or even “the dad from Malcolm in the Middle,” but these days he’s basically the most universally beloved actor in the business. It’s amazing what cooking meth in your tighty-whities can do for your career. What a coup for the upcoming crime drama, Eye of Winter, then, that it’s landed Cranston as its lead. He’ll be playing a blind criminal who takes a struggling motel owner (Alive Eve) and her daughter hostage so that they can be his eyes while he attempts to retrieve a package from a crooked cop (Logan Marshall Green). Tze Chun (Children of Invention) will direct and has co-written alongside Osgood Perkins and Nick Simon. [Variety]

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Bill Murray at Cannes 2012

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting roundup that’s got news about what weird, clown-related thing Peter Stormare is going to do next. Read on for the juicy details. If your name is Dan Aykroyd or Ivan Reitman, then Bill Murray has been spending the last ten years or so trying to convince you that he doesn’t read scripts. That’s got to sting, because Deadline has a new report that proves this to be balderdash. Murray read Ted Melfi’s script for St. Vincent De Van Nuys and identified with the writer’s work so much that he called him up and invited him out for a drive. One negotiating process later and Murray is reportedly ready to sign on to star in the film, which is about a cantankerous old coot who bonds with a twelve-year-old boy over rounds of drinking, gambling, and generally despicable behavior. Sounds like it’s going to be a hoot.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s ready for the weekend. Colin Firth is kind of a sneaky hunk. At first glance he’s pretty handsome, but not the most attractive dude in the world, and then he’s got this charm to him that just grows on you until you’ve scrawled his name on all of your Trapper Keepers. He’s such saucy dish that it looks like he can make even a big name star like Nicole Kidman develop a schoolgirl crush. THR is reporting that she liked playing his wife in the recent World War II drama The Railway Man so much that she’s now actively recruiting him to join her in her next project, Before I Go to Sleep. Apparently, Before I Go to Sleep is an adaptation of a S.J. Watson novel about an amnesiac woman whose husband must reintroduce himself to her every morning. Early attempts at titling the film The Rich Man’s 50 First Dates were reportedly rejected by the studio.

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Isla Fisher

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s a casting column that’s relying on the dreaded “short list” for content. You can’t really say that The Switch is a Jackie Brown prequel. Its story doesn’t really connect with the goings-on of Jackie Brown in any way, and Quentin Tarantino isn’t involved or anything. But it is an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel that features many of the same characters Jackie Brown did. Case in point: Variety reports that fiery redhead Isla Fisher is in negotiations to play Melanie, the same stoner surfer girl that Bridget Fonda played in Tarantino’s film. The Switch also features Mos Def and John Hawkes in the roles Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro originally played, and Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped housewife. Fisher’s character is said to be the manipulator of the story, and isn’t that always the case with these pretty girls?

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Sean Penn

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily casting column that isn’t stalking Maria Bello. It swears. Sean Penn has been one of Hollywood’s top actors for decades now, but he’s never really been the sort of performer who stars in big budget blockbusters. Doesn’t he deserve to have his own action franchise already? Well, if his latest project takes off at the box office, he might get it. THR reports that Penn has signed on to star in an adaptation of one of French crime novelist Jean-Patrick Manchette’s books, “The Prone Gunman,” where he will play a badass spy type who gets betrayed by his organization and ends up getting chased all across Europe in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Think of it as being like Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, only starring an actor.

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George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? The day’s casting news, all in one place, because you’re a very busy person. At this point we don’t know anything concrete about the secret project Brad Bird is directing over at Disney. It’s largely being developed under the code name 1952, but for a minute it was being called Tesla. It’s rumored to be a science fiction film involving aliens, but in what regard isn’t clear. It’s said that Disney is thinking of it as a major tentpole release, but why it would have such mass appeal is being kept under wraps. All we have is rumors. And the latest rumor for the pile, courtesy of Variety, is that The Facts of Life star George Clooney is currently negotiating to star. If this proves to be true and Bird lands Clooney, that would be a pretty big step toward making this the blockbuster sort of feature that Disney wants it to be. And, generally, what Disney wants, Disney gets.

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What is Casting Couch? Today it’s proof that if you star in something about sexy young vampires, you will continue to get more work. Warner Bros.’ Lego movie already had names like Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, and Morgan Freeman signed for its voice cast, thus making a stupid-sounding idea suddenly seem promising, but now they’ve really gone and made Lego into a movie that you can start looking forward to. Deadline reports that the film has just added Will Ferrell to its cast as the bad guy, President Business, Liam Neeson as the bad guy’s main henchman, Bad Cop, Parks and Rec’s mustachioed Nick Offerman as a revenge-obsessed pirate, and Community’s cheery-voiced Disney Princess Alison Brie as a member of the protagonist’s team who holds a powerful secret. That may just be the weirdest/most fun cast ever assembled, and it almost makes up for the fact that the movie is going to be in 3D.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s not an actual couch, you guys. Seriously, stop it. Kristen Wiig may have walked away from her regular gig on Saturday Night Live to focus on her film career, but she would be insane to walk away from the chemistry she has with her former SNL cast mate Bill Hader; getting those two together is always a comedy goldmine. And though they’ve appeared together as a big screen duo before, they’ve never really gotten the chance to anchor a film together as the stars. That all changes now! Variety is reporting that the twosome have signed up for an indie comedy called Skeleton Twins, where they will play two estranged twins who reunite after both have near death experiences on the same day. Luke Wilson is also set to appear as Wiig’s husband, a character who is described as being a “nature frat boy,” whatever that means. Regardless, the results are bound to be hilarious.

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Benedict Cumberbatch

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s a casting column that’s debunking a couple of rumors that will probably come true anyway. Absolutely Anything is a project that’s long been on comedy nerds’ radars, not only because it’s being directed by Monty Python member Terry Jones, but also because the film will see Jones re-teaming with the other members of his legendary comedy troupe to do voiceover work. According to The Wrap, filming is looking to get underway on this one soon, Gemma Arterton has joined the cast, and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) is currently negotiating to come on board, as well. The story is about a bumbling but magical school teacher, something that Cumberbatch would likely knock out of the park; which is one more positive that will help you forget Robin Williams is also going to be doing his voiceover thing here.

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Nicolas Cage

What is Casting Couch? It’s your Monday look at all of the great work casting agents and PR people did over the weekend to keep those Hollywood gears turning. UPDATED: We dreamed too soon, kids. It seems like Sylvester Stallone is fully committed to his experiment of figuring out how many big name celebrities have to be packed into an Expendables movie before one of them actually becomes interesting. The latest news regarding his quest (found on Stallone’s Facebook page by JoBlo) is that Nicolas Cage has been confirmed for a role in The Expendables 3, and that Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, and Mickey Rourke are the names he intends on recruiting next. You keep on trucking there, Mr. Stallone. With the addition of just five or ten more celebrities, The Expendables 3 is bound to be the one that finally gets out of first gear and actually becomes a decent action movie. We have faith!

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Michael Fassbender

What is Casting Couch? It’s where you go to make sure Elijah Wood is adding another new job to his calendar every day. Turns out, today he kept the streak alive, read on… Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender are two of the best actors on the planet Earth; objectively, inarguably. What a coup, then, that director Michael Grandage has landed both of them for his upcoming project, Genius. Based on a book by A. Scott Berg, Genius is a biopic that explores the relationship between Thomas Wolfe (Fassbender) and his editor Max Perkins (Firth). Turns out Wolfe and Perkins were great friends, but the kind who butted heads over everything. Sure, listening to two guys argue over word choice wouldn’t normally sound like a very exciting idea for a movie, but with these two actors on board it absolutely does. Add this one to your to-do list. [Variety]

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Christoph Waltz

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily roundup of all the casting news you care about, and maybe (probably) one or two items you don’t. Some info has finally leaked about James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller’s upcoming sequel to The Muppets. Turns out it’s going to be a caper movie, somewhat along the lines of The Great Muppet Caper, but with more of an international flair. How international? So international that THR is reporting they’re closing in on signing Christoph Waltz to play one of the main, non-Muppet roles—that of an Interpol inspector. Other important parts for humans are said to include a Russian femme fatale and a male lead with mysterious intentions. Actors looking to land the part should start sending in their shifty-eyed head shots now.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s where Hollywood moms come every day to find out if their actor kids have gotten a job. Remember that movie about the day JFK got shot that Tom Hanks was putting together because these days he’s such a history loving, lame dad? It’s called Parkland, and it just put together an awesome cast. According to Collider, director Vincent Bugliosi has signed the terrific trio of Paul Giamatti, Jackie Weaver, and Billy Boy Thornton to headline the cast. There’s no word on what characters they’ll be playing, but my guess is Giamatti will be JFK, Thornton will be Jackie O, and Weaver will be Lee Harvey Oswald. Makes sense, no?

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Director George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? Proof that not everyone’s tracking Hurricane Sandy’s path on Twitter. Some are still out there casting movies. The big casting news over the weekend was all of the big names that were announced for George Clooney’s next project as a director, The Monuments Men. Deadline had the scoop that this period drama about a group of art historians and museum curators trying to recover important and historical works from the clutches of the Nazis is going to star names like Bill Murray, Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. As far as I know none of these people can even speak German, but you’ve still got to look at that list and be impressed. You could cast this crew as an office full of telemarketers and everyone would still watch the movie, making them heroes during the dying days of the Nazi regime is just icing on the cake.

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Bradley Cooper and American Sniper

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily movie news column that that wants to make you a star, baby. Filmmaker Cameron Crowe hasn’t said much about his next project. We don’t yet have a title or a plot synopsis for it. But what we do know is that it’s said to be similar in tone to things like Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire, and it’s got Emma Stone playing a lead role (and it might just be a rewrite of his Deep Tiki script from years ago). So basically, expect something that lines up with Crowe’s best work and stars one of your favorite actresses. Sounds great. The new news regarding the project is that Crowe is reportedly close to finding his male lead. Deadline Hollywood says that he has his eye on Bradley Cooper, and he’s close to making a deal happen. Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone in a Cameron Crowe movie? Yeah, that should be enough to get the attention of every person of every gender and sexuality ever. Remember how we reported that Christopher Nolan’s regular DP, Wally Pfister, is going to be directing his first movie, it’s going to be called Transcendence, and it’s going to star Johnny Depp? Well, all of that stuff is still true, but the L.A. Times has dug up even more information. Turns out the film is actually going to have three leads, and Pfister is very game to get Christian Bale to sign on as number two of the three. Anyone out there want to see Johnny Depp […]

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Rhys Ifans

Given the reliable financial formula of taking classic novels and turning them into feature films with lots of fancy period costumes and either Keira Knightley or Mia Wasikowska in the lead role, it was probably only a matter of time before somebody decided to make another film version of Gustave Flaubert’s influential masterpiece, “Madam Bovary.” So we weren’t at all surprised when it was announced that Cold Souls director Sophie Barthes would be taking a crack at the material, and that she had Wasikowska all booked up to be her lead. Sounded like a pretty good idea. But after that the pot was sweetened even further when versatile young actor Ezra Miller, who effectively played a creepy kid in We Need to Talk About Kevin and a flamboyant friend in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, was announced as playing one of the Bovary character’s many extramarital boy toys, and acting god Paul Giamatti signed on to play Monsieur Homais, a man who threatens to reveal the title character’s many indiscretions. Don’t think that Barthes and her crew are done when it comes to their attempts at luring you into watching a movie based off a book you avoided in high school, either. Variety is now reporting that another great actor is joining the cast, as Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, The Amazing Spider-Man) has signed on to play Monsieur Lheureux.

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Johnny Depp to Start in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wally Pfister is a name that might not be known by everyone, but he’s certainly an artist whose work everyone has seen. Pfister has been working as a camera operator since the late ’80s, and has regularly been getting gigs as a Director of Photography since the early 2000s. He is, however, primarily known as the DP that Christopher Nolan uses on all his features. This is the guy who shot Memento, who got nominated for cinematography Oscars for Batman Begins, The Prestige, and The Dark Knight, and who finally won one for Inception. To say that he knows how to shoot a scene would be a bit of an understatement. But now he’s ready to take a more hands on approach to all of the other aspects of filmmaking, by taking his first crack at directing a feature. His first project, Transcendence, comes from a script by newcomer Jack Paglen and has been developed by Straight Up Films. Any details as to what the film is about are being kept tightly under wraps, but what isn’t being treated like a secret is the big name actor who they’ve snagged to star.

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Wahlberg and Bay

Though Michael Bay was initially reticent to commit to making a fourth installment of his hugely successful Transformers franchise, the money in these things is just too good, so it was really only a matter of time before he relented and agreed to sign on for a fourth. And though the news of another Bay-directed Transformers movie is going to be enough to earn groans from a lot of film fans, there have been some promising indications that a fourth film could be the best yet, even with the same director in place. From the very beginning, Transformers 4 has been thought of as a retooling of the franchise. Gone would be the north of $200m budgets and focus on Shia LaBeouf’s goofy Sam character and his ridiculously annoying family, and in their place would be a more traditional action plot starring a more traditional action actor. Heck, at one point it was even rumored that the studio was going after Jason Statham to star. Say that Bay made a Transformers movie without a focus on all of that family-friendly humor, with a budget that forced him to rely a little less on technical wizardry and a little more on his ingenuity…that could result in a watchable movie, right? The final battle of Transformers 3 was a lot of fun to watch, what if that were the whole movie?

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It was all the way back in June of last year that we first heard about Dan Fogelman’s Imagine, a movie he plans to tackle as both writer and director. Imagine was said to be a story about an aging rock star who gets inspired to reconnect with his estranged son after receiving a posthumous letter from John Lennon, and the rumor at the time was that Al Pacino was being courted to star. Well, here we are, a year and some change later, and not only has Pacino’s casting solidified, but it turns out he’s brought a couple of other big names along with him. And, in addition to that, new reports give us a little bit more of an idea what this story is all about. According to Deadline Hollywood, in addition to Pacino playing the aging rocker who’s still out there on the road playing all of his old songs, Fogelman has recruited Jeremy Renner to play the part of the adult son, as well as Julianne Moore to play the part of a hotel manager Pacino’s character befriends. Now, about that letter from John Lennon. The additional story bits here are that it was originally meant for a 19-year-old version of Pacino’s character, who had written to his music hero. Unfortunately, the letter was lost in the mail for decades, and delivered its words of wisdom quite a bit too late to get the guy’s life on the right track. All is not yet lost, however, […]

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