Casting Net: Scarlett Johansson to star in Luc Besson film; Plus James Franco, Nicki Minaj, more

scarlett-johansson

Image Credit: Gennadi Avramenko/Getty Images

• French director Luc Besson, who introduced the world to Natalie Portman in The Professional, has cast Scarlett Johansson as his lead in his newest film, Lucy. In the film, Lucy is forced to be a drug mule. But, when the drug gets into her system, she turns into a super-being with telekinesis abilities, martial arts skills, and the helpful bonus of being immune to pain. Johansson is certainly finding a new life as an action star ever since she took on the role of Natasha Romanoff for the Marvel universe. She also stars in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut (and festival favorite) Don Jon, which finally hits theaters on October 18. [THR]

• James Franco is continuing his auteur tour, and may sign on to star in Werner Herzog’s (Grizzly Man) Queen of the Desert about Gertrude Bell, the turn of the 20th century British adventurer. Jude Law was attached to star but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. The report says that Ridley Scott may also have a Gertrude Bell in the works that Angelina Jolie is interested in. There is no word yet on which actress would play Bell in Herzog’s version. [Deadline]

• Ryan Reynolds (The Croods) is in talks to star in the thriller Selfless, with Tarsem (The Cell) in the director’s seat. The story is about a wealthy old man who isn’t quite ready to die. Unfortunately for him, paying to get a younger body (through a mind transplant, obviously) doesn’t solve his problems. The body belonged to someone who was murdered and those killers aren’t too pleased when they discover it up and walking around. [Deadline]

• Nicki Minaj is set to make her film debut in Nick Cassavetes’ The Other Woman, with Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. According to the report, the American Idol judge will play another opinionated character for the film — but this time it will be Cameron Diaz’s character’s secretary. [THR]

• The Wachowski siblings’ favorite bad guy Hugo Weaving (The Matrix) has signed on to star in The Mule, an independent Australian film about a drug mule — apparently a popular profession for upcoming movies. Weaving has a number of projects in the works, including the final two films in The Hobbit trilogy where he’ll reprise his role as Elrond. [Deadline]

• Jake Gyllenhaal (Source Code) is set to star in the indie thriller Nightcrawler with Rene Russo (The Thomas Crowne Affair), “about a driven young man who discovers the nocturnal world of L.A. freelance crime journalism.” Dan Gilroy (co-writer of The Bourne Legacy) will make his directorial debut on the project. [Variety]

• In a strange mash-up of 90s stars, Julie Stiles (Silver Linings Playbook) and Scott Speedman (Felicity) are starring together in Out of the Dark, a supernatural thriller about a couple who moves into a haunted house in Colombia. [THR]

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Read More: 
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