Casting Net: Ben Affleck to direct and star in Africa-set thriller; Plus, Rachel McAdams to replace Reese Witherspoon, more

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Image Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

• Warner Bros. and Pearl Street Films have set video game writer Will Staples (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3) to pen the script for an Africa-set geopolitical thriller for Oscar-winner Ben Affleck to star in and direct. The story is about a group of mercenaries hired to kill a warlord. Affleck is currently shooting the big screen adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl where he plays lead Nick Dunne. After that he’ll direct and star in Live By Night and then tackle his role as Batman in the Man of Steel follow-up. [Deadline]

• Rachel McAdams (The Notebook) is in talks to star opposite Keanu Reeves in The Weinstein Company’s sci-fi pic Passengers about a group of humans traveling to resettle a colony planet. Reeves’ character wakes up 90 years too early after his sleep chamber malfunctions and decides he’d like some company, so he wakes up another (gorgeous, female) passenger. Brian Kirk, who directed the “Lord Snow” episode of Game of Thrones (among others), is set to direct off of a script from Jon Spaihts (a writer on Prometheus). Reese Witherspoon was previously attached to play the female lead, but dropped out due to reported scheduling and travel issues. TWC acquired the property at the Cannes Film Festival. [Deadline]

 Two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) is in final talks to join the cast of Horrible Bosses 2 to play the part of Chris Pine’s father. Both Pine and Waltz will get the lucky task of portraying the antagonizing employers to leads Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis. New Line just announced a Nov. 28, 2015 release for the comedy. [Variety]

• Relative unknown Travis Fimmel (The History Channel’s Vikings), is reportedly in final talks to join Legendary Entertainment’s Warcraft, which Source Code’s Duncan Jones is set to direct. Fimmel will play one of the four leads in the film based on the massively popular video game World of Warcraft. Paula Patton and Colin Farrell are also in talks to star. [Variety]

• Sam Dillon will join his Palo Alto co-star James Franco in Memoria, an indie drama from co-writers and directors Vladimir de Fontenay and Nina Ljeti about a working class misfit kid in Palo Alto who takes up with the punk subculture. [The Wrap]

• Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction) will play the president of FIFA in Gerard Depardieu’s untitled soccer pic which will cover the history of the organization, and will be released prior to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. [THR]

• Ryan Guzman (Step Up Revolution) will star in the Blumhouse thriller The Boy Next Door opposite Jennifer Lopez and Kristin Chenoweth. Guzman, 26, will play the teenage boy who Lopez’s character has an affair with in the Rob Cohen directed pic. [THR]

• John Robinson (Lords of Dogtown), Jon Abrahams (Meet the Parents) and Lorraine Nicholson (Soul Surfer)will star in the thriller Room 105 for first time director Patrick Mulvihill. [The Wrap]

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