a rather stunning development, the director/star team of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are attracting A-list talent to their new project. This is not welcome news for Casey Siemaszko. And while I feel for the one-time fringe Frat Pack-er, I’m especially pleased to learn that the first bit of casting on Shutter Island is the perpetually excellent Mark Ruffalo. Last seen running down Joaquin Phoenix’s kid in Reservation Road, Ruffalo will play U.S. Marshal Chuck Aule, who accompanies his new partner, Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio), to the titular island where some nutty multiple murderer has gone missing from a prison for the criminally insane. What starts off as peculiar assignment turns downright hairy when a hurricane lashes the island. Then the prisoners riot. Then Edward G. Robinson takes a bath. Then Nick Nolte’s houseboat comes unmoored. And then it’s pandemonium.

Laeta Kalogridis has adapted the generally well-received novel by Dennis Lehane for Scorsese, and while she’s mostly been associated with historical epics like Oliver Stone’s Alexander and Marcus Nispel’s Pathfinder, a strong female voice could work quite well for the character of the killer. And that’s because the killer is a woman, not just because I believe all women are capable of committing multiple murders at any moment (though the latter quality is certainly a plus). There’s no word yet on the casting of the killer, but I’d like to see Amy Adams do a more dangerous variation on her gently nutso persona.

Shutter Island will begin shooting in March ’08. Paramount and Columbia are splitting the production tab (with the former getting domestic distribution).