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'The Mindy Project' star Chris Messina keeps you guessing in 'Fairhaven' -- VIDEO

Fairhaven

One of Chris Messina’s great gifts as an actor is that audiences are never quite certain whether they’re supposed to like him. When he plays nice, you still keep a suspicious eye on him in case he ultimately decides to pull the rug out from under the heroine. When he’s a total heel, like on The Newsroom, you kick yourself for wanting to see more of him. To paraphrase Swingers, he’s often the guy from the R-rated movie you’re not so sure about yet.

In Fairhaven, a festival favorite that is now available on iTunes and video on-demand (and in select theaters), Messina gets to showcase both sides of that coin. He plays Dave, a messed-up guy who returns home for the first time in 10 years to attend his father’s funeral, reuniting with high school friends whose lives have unspooled in different, unanticipated directions. Messina and director Tom O’Brien — who also stars as Dave’s ex-jock pal, Jon — came up with the story around the time that Messina was still on Six Feet Under, and the duo, who first met as members of the All Seasons Theatre Group in New York, slowly pieced it together and debuted it at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. “You have a shorthand with friends,” says Messina. “He knew what I could do and he saw in me something different than most of Hollywood had seen up to that point.”

Watch a clip of Messina’s Dave reuniting with a former flame, played by Sarah Paulson, and then read his thoughts on The Mindy Project, the challenge of TV, and his childhood ambition to be the next Baryshnikov. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Anne Hathaway joins Mindy Kaling-penned comedy. Plus: Ron Perlman, Paul Dano

Anne Hathaway is attached to the romantic comedy The Low Self-Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie, co-written by Mindy Kaling and The Office writer Brent Forrester.  The project, about a self-conscious gal involved with losers whose love life perks up when a supreme hottie pursues her, is still without a director. Kaling and Forrester will also co-produce. [THR]

• Ron Perlman is putting his broad shoulders and Sons of Anarchy intensity to good use as part of the cast of the psychological thriller Angry Little God, an English-language remake of the Thai film 13: Game of Death. The film is about a man in debt who is told he’s on a hidden-camera game show and will get a ton of money if he completes 13 horrific tasks. It also stars Mark Webber from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Rutina Wesley  from True Blood. Daniel Stamm (The Last Exorcism) is directing from a script he co-wrote with David Birke. [Variety]

Paul Dano will star alongside Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Melissa Leo in the thriller Prisoners, about a carpenter whose daughter and friend are kidnapped and goes on a rogue search after police are unable to find them. Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve is directing from a script by Aaron Guzikowski. [Variety]

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Read more:
Casting Net: Kim Basinger joins Paul Haggis’ romantic drama ‘The Third Person.’ Plus: Patricia Clarkson, Katee Sackhoff
Casting Net: Samuel L. Jackson and Dominic Cooper face ‘Reasonable Doubt.’ Plus: Adam Brody, Trey Songs, Demian Bichir
Casting Net: ‘The Avengers’ star Clark Gregg assembling killer cast for ‘Trust Me.’ Plus: Gael Garcia Bernal to play AIDS patient

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