Casting Net: Zoe Saldana in talks for 'Guardians of the Galaxy'; Plus, Brad Pitt, Nicholas Hoult, Leighton Meester, more

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 It’s looking like Zoe Saldana will join another intergalactic franchise. The Avatar and Star Trek actress is in talks to play the female lead in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. She would join a cast that already features Chris Pratt (Zero Dark Thirty) and mixed martial artist Dave Bautista. Saldana is in negotiations to play Gamora, who, in the comic books, is the sole survivor of her humanoid race, the Zen Whoberi. She’s known as “the deadliest woman in the whole galaxy.” Also of note: Gamora has a stint in the comic books as a minion and adopted daughter of sorts of Thanos — that purple-skinned alien which the closing credits of The Avengers seemed to set up as our heroes’ next arch-rival. Perhaps this is further reason to hope for some more franchise cross-overs in Marvel’s future? [THR]

Independently-produced film Fury has scored quite a big name. Brad Pitt is in negotiations to star in the World War II-set drama directed by David Ayer (End of Watch). Fury takes place in the final days of the war and centers on a the five-man crew of an American tank that comes across a desperate German division. The project returns Pitt to the era he explored in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. [Deadline]

• Also busy recruiting more cast members today are the makers of This Is Where I Leave You. Three more actors signed on for the adaptation of the Jonathan Tropper bookTimothy Olyphant (Justified), Abigail Spencer (This Means War), and Ben Schwartz (House of Lies). In the book, main character Judd Foxman (played by Jason Bateman) is dealing with the discovery that his wife (Spencer) has been cheating on him with his boss, just as he also prepares to face his dysfunctional family following the death of his father. Olyphant will play the childhood sweetheart of Judd’s sister Wendy (Tina Fey), and Schwartz will play the local rabbi. [THR] [Deadline]

Another member of This Is Where I Leave You‘s growing ensemble cast, Corey Stoll, has lined up another project. Best known for his recent role in Netflix’s House of Cards and his hard-boiled but hilarious depiction of Ernest Hemingway in Midnight in Paris, Stoll has signed onto The Good Lie, which already features Reese Witherspoon (Sweet Home Alabama). Inspired by real events, the film is about a young refugee of the Sudanese Civil War who wins a lottery for relocation to the U.S. with three other “lost boys,” as the children displaced from their homes in Sudan are known. Stoll will play Jack, the owner of an employment agency that helps the boys. Additionally, The Good Lie found its lead, Ugandan-born British actor Arnold Oceng (My Brother the Devil) and also cast Sarah Baker (The Campaign) in an unspecified role. [Deadline]

The film adaptation of Dark Places, a novel by former EW writer Gillian Flynn, continues to expand its cast. Following Monday’s announcement that Chloë Moretz (Hugo) is in talks for the film, news came today that Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies) will also be in the mystery movie. In the novel, Libby Day (who will be played by Charlize Theron) is confronted by a group of amateur investigators called the Kill Club, who question Libby about her dark past — at age 7 she testified against her 15-year-old brother for the murder of their mother and two sisters. Hoult will play Lyle, an awkward young man who is the treasurer of the Kill Club. [Deadline]

• Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl) will share the screen with Robert Downey Jr.  in The Judge, a dramedy directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers). Downey Jr. plays an attorney who finds out that his estranged father (the town judge) is a suspect in his mother’s death. While on the road seeking the truth about his father, the attorney has a one-night stand with Meester’s character. Also starring in the film are Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Dax Shepard, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Billy Bob Thornton. [THR]

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