Casting Net: Benedict Cumberbatch to play the Beatles' closeted manager. Plus: Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Garner, Vince Vaughn

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Benedict Cumberbatch (or, as I've unadvisedly taken to calling him, Benny Batch) will star in an untitled biopic about Brian Epstein, the troubled manager for the Beatles, a closeted gay man who died in 1967 from an accidental overdose. Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing the film, which will be helmed by Paul McGuigan (a frequent director of Cumberbatch's acclaimed BBC series Sherlock). Todd Graff (Joyful NoiseBandslam) penned the script. #BennyBatch #MakeItHappen [THR]

• YES: Christoph Waltz is in talks to star in the sequel to The Muppets, as an Interpol inspector. While star Jason Segel won’t reprise his role, director James Bobin and writer Nicholas Stoller are expected to return in their respective roles, with Bobin also co-penning the script. [THR]

• Jennifer Garner will join Matthew McConaughey in The Dallas Buyers Club, a drama about a real-life AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, who smuggled pharmaceuticals into to the U.S. for himself and others living with the disease. Garner will play the Woodroof’s physician, Dr. Eve Saks. Jean-Marc Vallée (The Young Victoria) will direct from a script by Melisa Wallack (Meet Bill) and Craig Borten. [Deadline]

• Vince Vaughn is attached to star in Triple Time, an action-thriller about a U.S. marshal (Vaughn) accompanying an accused prisoner to D.C., when all hell breaks loose. Regular Vaughn collaborator (and child star of A Christmas StoryPeter Billingsley (Couples Retreat) will direct the script he penned with Michael J. Wilson (The Tuxedo). [Variety]

Click below for new projects for Sarah Jessica ParkerShirley MacLaineChristopher PlummerMark StrongHugo WeavingRose Byrne, and Miranda Otto

• Sarah Jessica Parker will star in Mixtape, a comedy about a 12-year-old girl who sets out to re-discover the little known songs on her late mother’s old mixtape after she accidentally erases it. Parker will play the girl’s aunt, who raises her. Tom Vaughan (What Happens in Vegas) will direct from a script by first-time feature writer Stacey Menear. [Variety]

• Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer are teaming up for Elsa & Fred, a remake of a Spanish-Argentine film about a free spirited woman who tries to romance the dyspeptic widower who moves into her building. Il Postino director Michael Radford will direct from the script he co-wrote with writing partner Anna Pavignano. [Variety]

• Mark Strong will join Nicole Kidman in the psychological thriller Before I Go to Sleep, based on the bestselling novel about a woman who wakes up every morning with her memory wiped clean. Strong plays the doctor who tries to help her piece her identity back together. Rowan Joffe (who penned The American, and 28 Weeks Later) will direct from his own script. [Variety]

• Hugo WeavingRose Byrne (Bridesmaids), and Miranda Otto (The Lord of the Rings) have signed up for the ensemble Australian film The Turning, a compendium of 17 short films based on the stories by Aussie author Tim Winton about the small Australian town of Angelus. Actors Cate BlanchettMia Wasikowska, and David Wenham (Lord of the Rings), are among some 11 directors helming working on the project. [THR]

Read more:
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