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Director Brian Trenchard-Smith talks John Cusack comedy-thriller 'Drive Hard'

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Brian Trenchard-Smith has been a director for 40 years and has made around the same amount of movies, from 1975’s George Lazenby-featuring action film The Man from Hong Kong through 1986’s cult film Dead End Drive-In to last year’s straight-to-DVD thriller Absolute Deception, which starred Cuba Gooding Jr. “I’ve never met a green-light I didn’t like,” chuckles the urbane auteur.

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Casting Net: Brittany Snow is back for 'Pitch Perfect 2'; Plus, Jessica Alba, more

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• Brittany Snow is set to reprise her role as Chloe in Pitch Perfect 2, which is already scheduled for a May 15, 2015, release. For those keeping tabs, we know that Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson plan to return as well, and that Elizabeth Banks will direct. The plot is being kept under wraps, but fans can rest easy knowing that Pitch Perfect scribe Kay Cannon is writing the sequel. [THR] READ FULL STORY

Catch a ride with John Cusack and Thomas Jane in the new 'Drive Hard' trailer -- VIDEO

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Now here’s a movie we can have fun with — as long as we strap on our seat belts and try not to take it too seriously.

Drive Hard, directed by cult filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith (Leprechaun 4: In Space, Airforce 2: Down), stars John Cusack as a bank robber named Simon Keller who recruits ex-Formula 1 champion Peter Robert (Thomas Jane) — now working as a driving instructor — to be his getaway driver after Keller robs a bank. Fun? Yes. Is there a point to the film? We’re not entirely sure… but then again, isn’t that true of most heist films?

The film will be released by Image Entertainment, and while there’s no word yet on a release date, Voltage Pictures has kindly provided us with a new trailer in anticipation of the movie hitting screens sometime later this year. Discussion questions: Why, John Cusack? And how much did Thomas Jane get paid to wear that wig?

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Casting Net: Kelsey Grammer, Kyra Sedgwick join ensemble of 'Reach Me.' Plus: Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl plan 'The Nut Job'

• Kelsey GrammerKyra Sedgwick, Kevin Connolly (Entourage), Thomas Jane (Hung), Tom Berenger, and Cary Elwes have signed onto the ensemble drama Reach Me, about a group of disparate people whose lives intersect thanks to a self-improvement book penned by a former football coach. Sylvester StalloneDanny AielloTerry Crews, rapper Nelly, and Omari Hardwick (Sparkle) all costar. Director John Herzfeld (2 Days in the Valley) also penned the script. [Deadline]

• Will ArnettKatherine HeiglBrendan FraserStephen Lang (Avatar), Sarah Gadon (A Dangerous Method), and ventriloquist comedian Jeff Dunham will all lend their voices to the indie animated feature The Nut Job, about a squirrel and a rat who plan to rob a nut store of its precious goods. Peter Lepeniotis will be directing based on his 2005 short Surly SquirrelLorne Cameron (Brother BearOver the Hedge) is penning the script. [Deadline]

• Paulo Costanzo (USA’s Royal Pains) will star in the romantic comedy That Burning Feeling, about a successful bachelor who revisits his past exes when the proverbial rug is pulled out from under his life. John Cho (Star Trek), and Tyler Labine (NBC’s Animal Practice) costar. Jason James is making his feature directing debut from a script by fellow first-timer Nick Citton. [Deadline]

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Casting Net: Tom Hardy plugging into ‘Splinter Cell.’ Plus: Benicio del Toro, Alexander Skarsgard, Evan Rachel Wood
Casting Net: Cameron Diaz will be ‘The Other Woman.’ Plus: Chris Hemsworth, Sylvester Stallone, Viggo Mortensen
Casting Net: Sean Penn eyeing thriller ‘Prone Gunman.’ Plus: John Hawkes, George Clooney, Ty Burrell

Casting Net: Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay join new Woody Allen film. Plus: Ashley Tisdale, Elijah Wood, Johnny Galecki

• Here’s something you don’t see every day. Director Woody Allen announced today that he’s cast comedians Louis C.K. and Andrew Dice Clay in his latest, untitled film, which will be shot in New York and San Francisco. The stand-ups will join Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Emerson, Sally Hawkins, and Peter Sarsgaard.

• Frankly, it’s surprising it took this long for a High School Musical alum to do a movie like this. Ashley Tisdale will play the lead in the horror flick parody Scary Movie 5. Malcolm D. Lee (Soul Men) will direct. [Deadline]

• A small town pawn shop in the American South will be the nexus for the impressive ensemble cast writer-director Wayne Kramer (The Cooler, Running Scared) has assembled for his black comedy Pawn Shop Chronicles. Joining actor-producer Paul WalkerMatt Dillon, Elijah Wood, Brendan Fraser, Vincent D’Onofrio, Thomas Jane, Norman Reedus, Ashlee Simpson, Lukas Haas, Chi McBride, DJ Qualls, Michael CudlitzPell James, and Kevin Rankin. Phew! [Deadline]

The Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, and actress Mickey Sumner (The Borgias) have all joined CBGB, about the renown New York punk rock club. Galecki will play band manager Terry Ork; Hawkins will play Iggy Pop; and Sumner will play Patti Smith. They join Alan Rickman (as club owner Hilly Crystal), Malin Akerman (as Debbie Harry), and Rupert Grint (as guitarist Cheetah Chrome). Randall Miller (Bottle Shock) will direct. [Deadline, THRVariety]

• Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) and Douglas Booth (The Pillars of the Earth) have been cast in director Darren Aronofsky‘s Biblical epic Noah as Noah’s sons Ham and Shem, respectively. Russell Crowe will play the famed ark builder. [Deadline]

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Casting Net: Beyonce, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell going ‘Epic.’ Plus: Adam Sander, Olivia Wilde
Casting Net: Stallone and De Niro eyeing boxing comedy ‘Grudge Match.’ Plus: Gary Oldman, Dominic Monaghan, Anne Hathaway
Casting Net: Adam Shankman comedy eyeing all-star cast. Plus: Jude Law, Michelle Pfeiffer, Gillian Anderson, Taran Killam

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