, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are already considered "talent magnets". Together, they’re a talent vortex. I do believe I predicted this.

For several months, casting was stagnant on Kevin McDonald’s State of Play; while Pitt was "attached" to the project, his participation was apparently contingent on the punching up of Matthew Michael Carnahan’s screenplay (based on a BBC series written by Paul Abbott). Thus, Tony Gilroy came aboard to work some A-list writer magic on the script that I deemed rather promising in this galvanizing 4/14/07 Crop Report. But now I’m hearing that McDonald is back to Carnahan’s screenplay. I only bring this up because I’m wondering which writer’s work Norton is going to claim for his own.

In the meantime, the Fight Club boys have coerced three of my favorite actresses to join their politically-charged suspense flick: Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn and Rachel McAdams. Penn will play the estranged wife of Norton’s up-and-coming politician, whose career is threatened when his mistress is killed in a freak subway accident. Meanwhile, Mirren will get to steal scenes as Pitt’s blustery, no-nonsense editor (a role that was written for a man in the draft I read – and was played by Bill Nighy on television). And McAdams will take a very inconsequential cub reporter character. There’s selective, and there’s self-sabotage. The jury is out as to whether McAdams is aware there’s a difference.

Universal and Working Title are co-producing State of Play, which will begin shooting this November.