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Casting Net: Xavier Samuel cast as The Monster in contemporary 'Frankenstein'

• Twilight: Eclipse star Xavier Samuel has been cast as Adam/The Monster in a new contemporary version of Mary Shelley’s classic FrankensteinDanny Huston (Magic City) and Carrie-Anne Moss (Vegas) will star as modern-day Victor and Elizabeth Frankenstein, a husband and wife team of eccentric scientists living in Los Angeles who create the creature. Bernard Rose (Candyman) has adapted Shelley’s work for the picture he is directing. [Deadline]

• Michael Peña is in early talks to join Ridley Scott‘s sci-fi action film The Martian. Based on the e-book by Andy Weir, the movie will star Matt Damon as a stranded astronaut on Mars trying to make it back to Earth alive. Peña, who will soon be seen in the film Fury and the Fox TV event Gracepoint, could also be joined by Jessica Chastain, who is currently in negotiations for the picture as well. [Variety]

• Kate Bosworth, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Grey’s Anatomy), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Gina Carano (Fast & Furious 6) have all boarded the ensemble heist pic Bus 657 starring Robert De Niro. Morgan and Bautista will costar as co-workers attempting to rob a casino owned by De Niro’s character in order to pay for Morgan’s daughter’s medical treatment and end up hijackacking a bus full of hostages in the process. Bosworth will play De Niro’s estranged daughter with Carano as a police officer in pursuit of the bus. Scott Mann (The Tournament) is directing the action thriller that will begin filming in Alabama next month from a script by Stephen Sepher and Max Adams. [Deadline]

• Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer will star in the action thriller Patient Zero about an unprecedented global pandemic that allows an aggressive form of rabies to turn victims into predators. Stefan Ruzowitzky (Deadfall) is directing from a script written by Mike Le. [Deadline]

• Ender’s Game star Asa Butterfield may be entering Tim Burton‘s adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ bestselling novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Though no official offer has been made, Burton has his eyes on Butterfield to play the coveted role of 16-year-old Jacob Portman, a boy who encounters a group of peculiar children with special abilities and their female guardian in a time loop while seeking answers for his grandfather’s murder. Eva Green is set to star in the title role with production beginning in February for a March 4, 2016 release. [The Wrap]

• Ann Dowd (The Leftovers) has been cast opposite Sandra Bullock in the political dramedy Our Brand is Crisis. Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green is at the helm with Peter Straughan (Frank) writing the adaptation based on the 2005 documentary of the same name about American political tactics used in a South American campaign. Scoot McNairy and Anthony Mackie have already signed on for the film produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov‘s Smokehouse Pictures. [Variety]

• Sarah Gadon (Belle) will join Aaron Paul and Jamie Dornan as the female lead in The 9th Life Of Louis Drax. The Canadian actress will play Natalie, the mother of the young boy who suffers a a near-fatal fall on his ninth birthday. Actor Max Minghella (The Mindy Project) will make his screenwriting debut with the adaptation of Liz Jensen’s best selling novel that will be directed by Alexandre Aja. Minghella also appears in Aja’s upcoming fantasy horror flick Horns starring Daniel Radcliffe. [Deadline]

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Oscar Wildcard: Why I wish I'd pushed harder for Ann Dowd of 'Compliance'

COMPLIANCE-DOWD

prize_fighter1_bannerI feel bad because I gave up on Ann Dowd.

Early in the Oscar season, when the field is so open and many films are still unseen, it’s easier to get behind an underdog. There’s more room to suggest a longshot for consideration’s sake, which to me feels a bit more interesting than just trying to “guess right” for … what exactly? A pat on the head for correctly predicting who might get a trophy?

That’s why I wish I’d had the nerve to give Dowd more of a push for her truly devastating performance in Compliance as a fast food manager who is manipulated into doing terrible things by a man who calls her restaurant and says he is a cop investigating one of her young employees. READ FULL STORY

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