British actors Samantha Morton (Synecdoche, New York), Dominic West (TV’s The Wire) and Polly Walker (TV’s Rome) have signed on to the cast of John Cater of Mars for Disney and director Andrew Stanton. Pic centers on a Civil War veteran (Taylor Kitsch) who
finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars, where he becomes
embroiled with the planet’s warring people.
Morton plays Sola, the daughter of [Willem] Dafoe’s Tars Tarkas, who must
hide her softer side from her warmongering race.
West plays Sab Than, prince of the Zodangans who believes he is
entitled to rule Mars.
Walker plays Sarkoja, a merciless, tyrannical Thark. Stanton and scribe Mark Andrews wrote the screenplay. Production is due to begin early in 2010.
The Hangover’s Zack Galifianikis is in talks to join Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and Lucy Punch in Dinner With Schmucks for director Jay Roach. Pics is a comedy about the most pathetic guy ever to be invited to
another man’s weekly dinner party. Galifianakis is playing an
assistant manager of a mattress store who is dating Carell’s
ex-wife. DreamWorks, SpyGlass and Paramount are co-financing the project, which is due to begin filming this fall for a Summer 2010 release. Galifianikis is in big demand since Hangover’s breakout this summer and will also be reuniting with director Todd Phillips on Due Date with Robert Downey, Jr. He also has the inevitable sequel to the monster comedy on tap as well.
Billy Bob Thornton is set to star in Pound For Pound, a boxing drama based on a novel from F.X. Toole, who also wrote the novel that became Million Dollar Baby. Pic centers on the parallel lives of a retired and widowed
boxer beset by depression after his grandson is killed in a car
accident and an up-and-coming teenage Latino fighter from a
difficult background. The lives of the two intersect in unexpected
ways. Thornton will play the retired boxer, while producers are out
to cast on the younger role. Said producer Leslie Greif on the project: “Unlike ‘Million Dollar Baby,’ which
was fabulous but a dark movie and a tragic story, this is a dark
story but with a life-affirming, hopeful ending.” Ron Shelton will write and direct the film.
Karl Urban (Star Trek) has been cast as the villain in Priest, a post-apocalyptic horror thriller. Pic is set in a
world ravaged by war between man and vampires. Paul Bettany stars
as a warrior priest and vampire fighter who teams with a sheriff
(Cam Gigandet) and warrior priestess (Maggie Q) to track down a
murderous band of vampires who have kidnapped his niece.
Urban plays Black Hat, the evil leader of the bloodsuckers who was
once a priest and hunter but now fancies himself a god of
vampires. Scott Stewart will be directing the project, which begins production this week in L.A. Urban has recently completed work on Black Water Transit for director Tony Kaye.
Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada is in talks to join the cast of Lost as a recurring character for the upcoming sixth and final season. No word is given on what role he will be portraying. Sanada has most recently been seen in America in the films Sunshine and Rush Hour 3.