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Casting Net: Kevin Costner joining 'The Explorers Guild.' Plus: Isabelle Fuhrman, Ethan Embry, Natalie Portman

Isabelle Fuhrman (The Hunger Games) will replace Chloe Moretz in The Wilderness of James, an indie about a kid (Kodi Smit-McPhee) coping with his absent father. Michael Johnson is making his feature debut as a writer-director with the film. [Deadline]

• Ethan Embry (Eagle Eye, Can’t Hardly Wait) has joined Cheap Thrills, a thriller (whoda thunk?) about an unsavory couple who rope in some hard-on-their-luck guys (including Embry) for some morally questionable activities. David Koechner will costar. [Variety]

Natalie Portman is being considered for the feature adaptation of In the Garden of Beasts, the non-fiction bestseller by Erik Larson about William Dodd the U.S. ambassador to Germany during the rise of the Nazi party. Tom Hanks has already been attached to play Dodd, and Portman would play his grown daughter Martha, who ends up in a relationship with the head of the Gestapo – but no formal talks have started. The Artist‘s Michel Hazanavicius, on the other hand, is officially negotiating to direct the film, which Hanks’ production company Playtone is handling with Universal. [Deadline]

Read more:
Casting Net: Ewan McGregor boarding ‘August: Osage County.’ Plus: Christian Slater joins Lars von Trier’s ‘Nymphomaniac’
Casting Net: Nicolas Cage attached to vigilante thriller ‘I Am Wrath.’ Plus: Joan Allen boards Stephen King adaptation
Casting Net: Cynthia Nixon set to play poet Emily Dickinson. Plus: Sean Bean, Tom Wilkinson, Peter Facinelli

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