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Casting Net: Jennifer Connelly joins Ewan McGregor for 'American Pastoral'

• Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly will star opposite Ewan McGregor in the upcoming adaptation of American Pastoral. Phillip Noyce (The Giver) will direct the story based on Phillip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of Swede Levov, a high school athlete who grows up to inherit his father’s business only to have his perfect life shattered when his daughter commits a deadly act of political terrorism during the Vietnam War. Connelly will play Levov’s wife Dawn. Filming is set to begin in Pittsburgh in March with John Romano (Lincoln Lawyer) adapting the book for film. [The Wrap]

• Taylor Kitsch has reportedly been offered the lead role in the English-language remake of the 2011 Indonesian film The Raid, directed by Gareth EvansThe Friday Night Lights star is also still in contention for one of the leads in the next season of HBO’s True Detective, but a January 2015 shooting schedule would theoretically allow Kitsch to do both. Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3) will direct the action picture for Screen Gems from a script by Brad Ingelsby (Run All Night). The story is expected to closely follow the plot of the original film about an elite Indonesian SWAT team trapped in a building run by thugs.  [The Wrap]

• Elijah Wood will join Vin Diesel, Michael Caine, and Rose Leslie in the supernatural action film The Last Witch Hunter. Breck Eisner (Sahara) is directing the film about an immortal witch hunter and female witch teaming up to save New York City from a plague. Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama (Gods Of Egypt) are writing. [Deadline]

• Lily James (Downton Abbey), Sam Riley (Maleficent), and Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows) have all officially signed on for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the long-in-development adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2009 smash mash-up novel. James will play Elizabeth Bennett with Riley as Mr. Darcy and Heathcote as Elizabeth’s sister in the feature directed by Burr Steers (Charlie St. Cloud). Oscar nominee David O. Russell (American Hustle) was previously set to direct the screenplay he co-wrote with Steers, but dropped out back in 2010. Jack Huston (Kill Your Darlings) is also in talks for a role in the film that explores the different social classes and human species in 19th century England. [Deadline]

• Before the latest sequel opens in theaters, The Expendables world has already expanded. Producer Avi Lerner revealed that an all-female version, The Expendabelles is already in the works. Production is set to begin early next year with Sigourney Weaver as the only potential cast member currently in consideration. [THR]

PREVIOUSLY: Ryan Reynolds joins CIA thriller
Bill Murray to voice Baloo the Bear
Captain Fantastic adds to cast

Casting Net: Kevin Hart and Jamie Foxx in talks for 'Black Phantom'; Plus, Jason Sudeikis, Dr. Doom rumors

• Kevin Hart and Jamie Foxx are in talks to star in Black Phantom, a Screen Gems hitman pic. Ride Along‘s Tim Story is in talks to direct the film about a hitman reeling from a recent betrayal who hires the guy who was hired to kill him for help. Foxx can be seen next in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (out May 2). Hart’s Think Like a Man Too (also directed by Story) is out June 20. [Variety] READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Idris Elba in talks for Sean Penn action pic; Plus, 'Veronica Mars' updates, more

• Idris Elba (Prometheus) is in talks to join Sean Penn and Javier Bardem in the action flick The Gunman. Taken‘s Pierre Morel is set to direct the project about what happens when an international operative is betrayed by his organization. Elba’s being considered for the role of Dupont, vaguely described as a “mysterious operative.” The story is based on Jean-Patrick Manchette‘s novel The Prone Gunman. [THR]

• Ray Winstone (The Departed) has also joined The Gunman. He’ll play a mentor to Penn’s character. [Deadline]
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'On the Road' one sheet: How do you sell the Beat Generation? -- EXCLUSIVE

Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is such a seminal, sui generis work of Beat Generation fiction that it’s taken 55 years since its publication for a feature film adaptation to make its way to movie theaters. Everyone who’s read the book has an idea of how the story of two friends on a meandering road trip across America should look. Perhaps the biggest challenge facing director Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) was distilling all those disparate ideas into a single, unified feature film.

Then comes an even trickier question: How do you sell it? The Beats weren’t exactly known for being commercially oriented artists, but when you have a film featuring stars like Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, and Kirsten Dunst, you kinda want to have them on your movie poster. How do you do that without making it seem like a crass play to boost your box office?

The design team at Percival & Associates have come up with an elegant solution in the final one sheet for the film, and EW has an exclusive first look. Check it out below (click the image to embiggen):  READ FULL STORY

'On the Road' teaser trailer: Kristen Stewart, Jack Kerouac, and jazz, baby, jazz -- VIDEO

Instantly entering the race for the best trailer of the year, the new, dialogue-free teaser for On the Road mixes an expertly edited collage of shots from the long-awaited adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s seminal Beat Generation novel with a propulsive jazzy score and a key excerpt from the novel itself spoken by Kerouac stand-in Sal Paradise (voiced here by actor Sam Riley). Also: Some excellent fontage. Check it out below:  READ FULL STORY

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