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Casting Net: Casey Affleck to star in Boston Marathon drama

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• Oscar nominee Casey Affleck will return to his native Massachusetts to star in and produce a film based on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The script written by Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy (The Fighter) is based on the book “Boston Strong” by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge and chronicles the massive manhunt to find the two men believed responsible for the bombings and the city’s response to the horrific events. [Variety]

• Steve Carell will continue his trend of taking on less comedic roles in an untitled thriller from director Gore Verbinski (The Lone Ranger). The film will be the third straight Verbinski shoots for New Regency after the horror picture A Cure For Wellness and the large-scale action comedy PassengersSteve Conrad, who wrote the script for Passengers as well as the adaptation of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, will once again collaborate with Verbinski on this project. [Deadline]

Flight of the ConchordsJermaine Clement is teaming with James C. Strouse for People Places Things. Strouse just finished principal photography, and is directing from a script he wrote. The indie feature stars Clement as a freshly single, struggling graphic novelist attempting to raise his young twin daughters while also moving on from the woman who left him. Other cast members include Regina Hall, Stephanie Allynne, and Jessica Williams. Michael B. Clark and Alex Turtletaub are producing for Beachside. Beachside’s Tim Foley is executive producing with Summer Shelton. [Deadline]

• Tom Wilkinson will join Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies) in the adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel The ChoiceRoss Katz (Adult Beginners) is directing the film about the unexpected relationship of a young couple who meet as neighbors in a small coastal town, The script was written for the screen by Bryan Sipe. [Variety]

Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction) has been added to the rom-com action flick Mr. RightAnna Kendrick will star as a woman who thinks her unlucky streak in love has come to an end when she meets the perfect guy played by Sam Rockwell, who just happens to be a hitman. Wu-Tang rapper/producer RZA is on board to play Shotgun Steve, a marksman who works for a rival gangster. Filming begins next week in New Orleans with director Paco Cabezas (Neon Flesh) at the helm from a script by Max Landis (Chronicle). [Deadline]

• That ’70s Show star Danny Masterson will play a cutthroat yet lonely hedge fund tycoon who takes a group of friends on a mysterious island getaway in the thriller UrgePierce Brosnan is starring as the island gatekeeper and a designer drug dealer with Twilight star Ashley Greene playing one of Masterson’s friends. The film will be the directorial debut for producer Aaron Kaufman (Chef). [Deadline]

• Michael Gambon and Imelda Staunton have been added to the voice cast of the mixed live action/CGI animated movie PaddingtonBen Whishaw is providing the voice of the curious Peruvian bear in the film written and directed by Paul King and Gambon and Staunton will play his Uncle Pastuzo and Aunt Lucy, respectively. The movie also stars Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, and Julie Walters in their natural human forms. [Deadline]

Casting Net: Joseph Gordon-Levitt for 'Sandman'?; Plus, Emma Thompson, more

• Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon) is nearing a deal to produce a big screen adaptation of Sandman and is rumored to be in talks to direct and star in the comic book adaptation as the character Morpheus. David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight) is penning the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s classic graphic novel for Warner Bros. Gordon-Levitt can be seen next in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (out Aug. 22, 2014). [Deadline; BadassDigest]

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RZA set to direct 'Gengis Khan' biopic, also action thriller 'No Man's Land'

Now that rapper RZA’s directorial debut The Man With the Iron Fists is out in theaters this Friday, he’s a man in demand.

EW.com can confirm that the Wu-Tang Clan leader is set to direct not just one, but two, upcoming films: Genghis Khan, a biopic about the famed Mongol warrior, from a script by John Milius, who is also executive producing with Andre Morgan and Peter Lam as co-producers, and action thriller No Man’s Land, from a script by Trey Ellis and David Klass, with Pandemonium’s Bill Mechanic and Reginald Hudlin (Django Unchained) producing.

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How the RZA reinvented himself: 'The Man With the Iron Fists' director explains his path from rap to film

A lot of people talk about directing a movie one day. Few actually do it. In a 2005 EW profile, the RZA — Wu-Tang Clan mastermind, author, actor, film composer — spoke earnestly about his methodical steps to prepare himself for the director’s mantle. Seven years later, his debut feature The Man With the Iron Fists, a martial arts epic set in 19th century China starring Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, and the RZA himself, is now set to hit theaters on Nov. 2.

The screenplay, which the RZA wrote alongside his buddy Eli Roth, is inspired by his lifelong devotion to all things kung fu. “I’m an encyclopedia of those kinds of films,” he says. “So I knew that my imagination and my dream was up to the task, but I studied and prepared myself too. If I say making a movie is a fight, then I trained in the gym for a long time and I was ready to get in the ring.” READ FULL STORY

Q&A: Eli Roth swoons over his haunted Vegas Goretorium hotel, and talks working with RZA

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Eli Roth’s Goretorium in Las Vegas may just be the kind of gruesome, bloody year-round destination horror fans have been salivating for, and Roth himself is as giddy as a twisted school boy about it.

The director-writer-actor behind the Hostel and Cabin Fever franchises, and upcoming Netflix series Hemlock Grove, brainstormed the mock haunted hotel and casino called The Delmont, aka the Goretorium, for five years. Located across the street from the City Center and The Cosmopolitan, on the Vegas strip, already the land of dark-edged glitz and mayhem, it opens Sept. 27. Complete with techie and makeup-fueled special effects, a lounge called Baby Dolls with caged zombie dancers, and a bar called Bloody Mary’s, the two-story high Goretorium sounds like a go-to Halloween hangout for adults. It will even house a chapel where star-crossed, gore-hungry lovers can get married. Zombie Elvis as a wedding officiant?

Stuck at the Burbank Airport, about to board a plane to Vegas, Roth talked to EW.com about Goretorium being the “Disney World for horror fans,” working with rapper RZA on RZA’s upcoming directorial debut, the martial arts movie The Man with the Iron Fists, which Roth co-wrote with RZA and co-produced, and Roth’s new horror flick The Green Inferno, set to start filming later this year in Peru. Chilean earthquake thriller Aftershock, co-produced, co-written and starring Roth, premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival. Even over the phone, Roth oozed as much unbridled horror-loving passion as a puss-filled sore on a zombie’s thigh. Seriously.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me about Goretorium. Frightening!
ELI ROTH: I’ve always dreamed of having a year-round haunted house. I’ve gone to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights about 12 years in a row. And to Knott’s Scary Farm. READ FULL STORY

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