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Casting Net: Meg Ryan boards 'Fan Girl,' Jacki Weaver signs on for 'Zeroville;' more

• Meg Ryan and Kara Hayward are joining Kiernan Shipka in Fan Girl. The film follows a 15-year-old post-Millennial teenager who combines her passions—making movies and idolizing her favorite band—in a final film project. Paul Jarrett is making his directorial debut with the semi-autobiographical film. Gina O’Brien wrote the script. The film also stars Scott Adsit, Joshua Boone, and Bill Sage. All Time Low will lend their music to the soundtrack and will appear as themselves. Jarrett, Nick Huston, and Adam Spielberg in association with Rosetta Films, Filament Productions and Literally Films are producing. O’Brien and Jonathan Gray are executive producing. [Deadline] 

• Jacki Weaver will star in director James Franco‘s Zeroville. The two-time Oscar nominee will play lead character Dotty, a film editor who is a friend and mentor to Franco’s character. The film is an adaptation of Steve Erikson‘s 2007 novel about a 24-year-old student who arrives in Hollywood in 1969, hoping to make it in the business. Caroline Aragon and Vince Jolivette are producing. [Deadline]

• Margot Robbie is in talks to join Tina Fey in The Taliban Shuffle. If it goes through, it will reteam her with with Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who directed her in Focus. The film is an adaptation of journalist Kim Barker‘s wartime memoir, which recounts her outsider status in Kabul, being a woman in wartime Iraq and Pakistan, among other things. Robbie is up for the role of a beautiful, blond on-air news anchor who befriends Baker (Fey) in Afghanistan who is described as willing to do anything to launch her career. Fey is producing the film with Lorne Michaels. [THR]

• Julie Delpy and Greta Gerwig are in talks to star in Todd Solondz‘ s Wiener-Dog, an ensemble indie tied together thematically by a dachschund. The film acts as a sort-of sequel to Solondz’s Welcome to the Dollhouse: One story will center on Dawn Wiener from the 1995 cult hit. The nature of Delpy’s character is unknown, but if Gerwig signs on, she would play the adult Dawn Wiener in one storyline. Megan Ellison and her Annapurna production shingle will produce and finance with Christine Vachon and her Killer Films banner, which will produce as well. [THR]

• Bill Skarsgard, Claire van der Boom, and Paula Malcomson will star in Alison Eastwood‘s Battlecreek. The film tells a love story about reconciling your past and finding your future. Skarsgard will play a talented young painter who must live his life at night due to a rare skin disorder. He strikes a romance with a young woman (van der Boom), encouraging him to challenge his overbearing mother (Malcomson) and the lies that surround their relationship. Anthea Anka wrote the script. Connie Hoy is producing under her Maindiner Entertainment banner with Eastwood. Red River Studios is financing the film, and its Michael G. Wallace is executive producing. Production starts later this month in Mississippi. [The Wrap]

• Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones) has been cast in The Scorch Trials, the sequel to The Maze Runner. The film, which Wes Ball will return direct, previously added Aidan Gillen, Rosa Salazar, and Giancarlo Esposito to a cast with Dylan O’Brien and Will Poulter at its center. Emmanuel will play Harriet, the leader of a group of girls who have escaped from another maze and connect with O’Brien’s group. Harriet is involved in the third installment. The producers of The Maze Runner will return for its sequel. [THR]

• Jeremy Sisto (Suburgatory), Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty), Katherine La Nasa (Deception), Jenica Bergere (Trophy Wife), and Leonard Roberts (Drumline) have signed on for Love is All You Need?, a reverse gay-bullying drama starring Briana Evigan, Emily Osment, and Kyla Kennedy. The film, which Kim Rocco Shields is directing, is set in a world where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexual persons are bullied. Tyler Blackburn (Pretty Little Liars) also joins the cast as Ryan, a journalist who becomes romantically involved with Evignan’s star quarterback. Love is All You Need? is based on a controversial short film of the same name. It is currently filming in LA. [Deadline]

• Kea Ho has boarded Aaron Kaufman‘s debut film Urge. The thriller stars Pierce Brosnan, Danny Masterson, Ashley Green, Bar Paly, Alexis Knapp, Chris Geere, and Nick Thune. It follows a group of friends who test out a new designer drug while vacationing; the drug makes them unable to control their urges. Ho will play Xiomara, the central performer of Brosnan’s lair. Skip Williamson and Mark Neveldine are producing for their Blackmrkt Incorporated banner. Tim Smith, Alastair Burlingham, Lee Vandermolen, Yoram Barzilai, Frank Martinez, Anthony Gudas, Clay Pecorin, Russell Geyser, Gerald Fruchtman, and Peter Fruchtman are executive producing. [Deadline]

Watch Will Smith and Margot Robbie in the first 'Focus' trailer

focus.jpg

Will Smith’s tapped back into his inner romantic in Focus, an upcoming con-artist tale that pairs him with The Wolf of Wall Street’s Margot Robbie, but don’t expect him to go full-on Hitch.

Focus follows Smith’s Nicky Spurgeon, a grifter who shows Robbie’s Jess Barrett, an alarmingly attractive intern, the tricks of the trade. But things get complicated  even for con artists  when he falls for her.

The film from writing/directing duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, has been in the works for a while, with several actors attached and then dropping out, including Kristen Stewart and Ben Affleck. Ficarra and Requa reportedly wanted Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone to star originally, but judging from the trailer, Smith and Robbie have plenty chemistry.

Focus hits theaters on Feb. 27, 2015.

 

Casting Net: Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Elle Fanning to star in Ben Affleck's 'Live by Night'

• Once he takes off his Batman cape, Ben Affleck will direct Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Elle Fanning in the Prohibition Era film Live By Night. Affleck has adapted the Dennis Lehane novel himself, reuniting the pair after Affleck’s feature debut Gone Baby Gone, which  was also based on a Lehane novel. The story centers around Joe Coughlin, the police captain’s son who gets himself involved in the world of organized crime. Miller will play Emma, the girlfriend of Coughlin’s mobster boss whom he falls in love with. Saldana has been cast as Graciella Suarez, a woman Coughlin meets in Tampa, with Fanning landing the coveted role of Loretta Figgis, the sheriff’s daughter and an aspiring actress. [Deadline]

• Shia LaBeoufKate Mara (House of Cards) and Gary Oldman will star in Man Down, a psychological thriller from director Dito Montiel (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints). The film is set in a post-apocalyptic America as an Afghanistan war veteran dealing with his haunted memories searches for his family. Adam Simon (Synapse) has written the script with filming expecting to begin in Louisiana at the end of next month. [Variety]

• Sons Of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam and The Wolf Of Wall Street star Margot Robbie are in talks to star in The Mountain Between Us, an adaptation of the Charles Martin book. Paradise Now director Hany Abu-Assad will helm the survival love story about two strangers who meet after their flight is canceled out of Salt Lake City. Robbie is also in early talks to star in the adaptation of the Japanese comic book Ghost in the Shell for DreamWorks. Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) is directing from a script by Bill Wheeler about a member a covert ops unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission specializing in technology-related crime. [Deadline, Deadline]

• Danish director Joachim Trier has added Oscar nominees Amy Ryan and David Strathairn to the cast of his English-language debut film, Louder Than Bombs Devin McKenzie Druid, who played a younger version of Louis C.K. on Louie, also joins the cast that already includes Gabriel Byrne, Jesse Eisenberg and Isabelle Huppert about a father and his two sons returning the their childhood home after the death of their wife and mother, a celebrated photographer. [Deadline]

• Nymphomaniac actress Stacy Martin will star in the high-concept thriller Taj Mahal. French screenwriter Nicolas Saada (Sleepless Night) will write and direct the film set during the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. The international cast will also include Italy’s Alba Rohrwacher (The Wonders), French actor Louis-Do de Lencquesaing (Superstar) and British actress Gina McKee (Jimmy P.). [THR]

PREVIOUSLY: Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts to star in Demolition 

Casting Net: Sacha Baron Cohen joining 'Alice in Wonderland' sequel?; Plus, Penelope Cruz, Bruce Willis, more

• Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) is in early talks to join the cast of Disney’s Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. James Bobin (The Muppets) will direct, with Johnny Depp (The Lone Ranger) and Mia Wasikowska (Stoker) reprising their roles as the Mad Hatter and Alice, respectively. Details of the plot are being kept secret, with filming expected to begin toward the end of the year with a May 27, 2016, release date. [Variety]

• Penelope Cruz (Vicky Christina Barcelona) will co-produce and star in the Spanish-language film Ma ma, directed by L.A.-based Spanish director Julia Medem (Sex and Lucia). Luis Tosar (Miami Vice) and Asier Exteandia (Broken Embraces) will co-star in the film, which will shoot in Spain this spring. Cruz will play the lead told of Magda in the intimate woman’s drama laced with moments of comedy. [Variety]
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Golden Globes: Party Report! Inside scoop from all the after-ceremony festivities

EW is inside all the Golden Globes parties tonight. Check out our reports from inside all the carousing and celebrating. Check back often for updates and follow us on Twitter at #EWglobes.
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