Casting Net: Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington back for 'Avatar' sequels; Plus, Michael Pena for 'Ant-Man', more

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Image Credit: Jeff Vespa/WireImage

• Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington have finalized deals to reprise their roles as Neytiri and Jake Sully in the three upcoming Avatar sequels for director James Cameron. News of their “expected” return was first reported in August. Stephen Lang is also returning as Marine Colonel Quaritch. The three follow ups will be shot back to back and are rolling out to theaters in December of 2016, 2017, and 2018. [THR]

End of Watch star Michael Peña has reportedly been offered a role in Marvel’s Ant-Man. The Edgar Wright-directed pic is expected to begin shooting this spring with leads Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas starring as Scott Lang and Hank Pym. Disney has already set a July 31, 2015, release. Peña can be seen in a minor but significant role in American Hustle, currently playing in theaters. [The Wrap]

• Director Darren Aronofsky tweeted that he added Nick Nolte to his biblical epic Noah, which hits theaters on March 8. Nolte will be voicing the part of Samyaza. [Twitter]

• In more Twitter news, Ron Howard captured a photo of his daughter Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt (Parks & Recreation) on the red carpet and teased that they would indeed be teaming up for Jurassic World. Pratt’s name has been circling the project since November but no official announcement has come from Universal regarding his status at this point.

Deadline says that the rumors that Marvel is currently courting Johnny Depp to play Doctor Strange are false. [Deadline]

• Also, Johnny Depp may be in negotiations (again) to play Boston mob boss Whitey Bulger in Black Mass now that Out of the Furnace helmer Scott Cooper is in talks to rewrite and direct the pic. Depp was previously attached, then confirmed, and then out of the project, reportedly due to financing issues. [Deadline]

• Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) has joined the historical thriller Lady of Csejte about the serial killer Countess Bathory from first time feature director Andrei Konst. [Variety]

PREVIOUSLY: Michael Douglas joins ‘Ant-Man’


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