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Casting Net: Julia Roberts joins 'The Secret in Their Eyes' remake

• Julia Roberts has joined fellow Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow and 12 Years A Slave nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor in the remake of the 2009 Argentinian film The Secret in Their Eyes. The original feature won the Best Foreign Language film Oscar in 2010. Billy Ray, who wrote the screenplay for The Hunger Games and Captain Phillips, will write and direct the story about a former MI-5 agent (Ejiofor) on a joint task force with the FBI, who thinks he’s finally found the man who murdered the daughter of his former partner and friend (Roberts). [Deadline]

• Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette will star in the relationship drama Miss You Already. Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) is directing the cast that also includes Dominic Cooper (Need for Speed), Paddy Considine (The World’s End) and Jacqueline Bisset from a screenplay by British writer and actor Morwenna Banks (Damned). Barrymore and Collette play long time best friends whose relationship begins to struggle when their characters deal with infertility and breast cancer, respectively. Cooper and Considine will play their husbands with Bisset portraying the mother of Collette’s character. [Variety]

• Zac Efron and Robert De Niro are teaming up for the adult comedy Driving Dick Kelly, formerly titled Dirty Grandpa. De Niro plays a widowed Army veteran who tricks his grandson (Efron) into taking him to spring break in Florida. Borat scribe Dan Mazer will helm the film as director with the script written by John Phillips, who also wrote the upcoming DreamWorks comedy Who Invited Her? [The Wrap]

• Shia LaBeouf and Jesse Eisenberg may star together as a pair of potheads in Arms and the Dudes. The comedy from The Hangover director Todd Phillips and writer Jason Smilovic (Lucky Number Slevin) is based on a Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson and follows the duo after they win a $300 million contract from the government and become unlikely arms dealers supplying weapons to American allies in Afghanistan. [The Wrap]

• William Hurt and Alice Braga (Elysium) have joined Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson in the revenge thriller By Way of Helena. Hemsworth stars as a Texas Ranger sent to investigate the murders and disappearances of the people in an isolated town, pseudo led by a charismatic preacher (Harrelson) with a history with the Ranger. Australian director Kieran Darcy-Smith (Wish You Were Here) and writer Matt Cook (upcoming Triple Nine) are both on board for the feature with filming expected to begin this month. [Variety]

• Actress and model Yaya DaCosta has joined the cast of the biopic Bolden! about famed New Orleans cornet player Buddy Bolden. DaCosta, who landed the role of Whitney Houston in the upcoming Lifetime TV movie I Will Always Love You: The Whitney Houston Story directed by Angela Bassett, will star alongside Downton Abbey‘s Gary Carr in the title role as well as Nelsan Ellis (Get On Up)Ian McShane (Deadwood) and Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy). Dan Pritzker is directing from his own script. [Variety]

• Get On Up and 42 star Chadwick Boseman has sold an untitled pitch to Universal to write and star in a thriller in the vein of The FugitiveMarc Platt will produce the project, with Boseman collaborating with his writing partner Logan Coles. The two previously worked together on the 2008 short Blood Over a Broken Pawn. [Deadline]

• Mexican star Eugenio Derbez has signed a multipicture deal with Pantelion Films and has already lined up his first project. Derbez is developing a remake of the French comedy The Valet to attract the coveted Hispanic moviegoing audience. Derbez’s last film Instructions Not Included, which was also produced by Pantelion, went on to gross $44 million in the U.S., making it the highest-grossing Spanish-language film released in America ever. The original 2006 version of the film from French writer/director Francis Veber followed a goofy parking attendant and a top model who must pretend to be a couple to save a CEO’s marriage. [Variety]

• Friday Night Lights‘ Aimee Teegarden will star in the Bollywood meets Hollywood dance feature Heart Beats 3D  from Duane Adler, the writer behind the Step Up franchise. Teegarden has been cast as an American hip-hop dancer who travels to India for a family wedding and falls in love with both the new style of dance she learns and the young man who introduces it to her. Tiger Shroff is in talks to play her Indian love interest. [THR]

• Sean Harris (The Borgias) has reportedly been offered the villain role in Mission: Impossible 5 which will once again star Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt. Christopher McQuarrie, who just directed Cruise in Jack Reacher and was part of the writing team that adapted his latest summer flick Edge of Tomorrow, is directing the sequel with Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton reprising their roles from the last 2011 film as well in addition to Alec Baldwin. [Deadline]

• German actress Veronica Ferres (Hector and the Search for Happiness) joins Nicolas Cage in the supernatural thriller Pay the Ghost. Ferres will play a professor and mentor to Cage, a fellow professor who tries to track down the vengeful ghost that took his son years ago during a Halloween parade. German filmmaker Uli Edel is directing the feature with a script by Dan Kay, based on the short story by novelist Tim Lebbon. [Deadline]

• Awkward‘s Brett Davern has been cast as an affable young participant in The Stanford Prison Experiment. He’ll play Hubbie Whitlow, a student in the infamous 1971 psychological experiment who plans a failed escape attempt. Kyle Patrick Alvarez (C.O.G) is directing South Park writer Tim Talbott‘s script. [Deadline]

• Karim Saleh (The Attack), Mona Hala (Cairo Time), and Waleed Zuaiter (Omar) will star in Namour, the feature debut of writer-director Heidi Saman about a young valet driver (Saleh) in Los Angeles worried he will never get out of his post-college rut. [Deadline]

Gregg Allman calls for 'Midnight Rider' to shut down for good

Gregg Allman has written a personal letter to director Randall Miller, asking him to pull the plug on Midnight Rider, a biopic of the legendary rocker, after the fatal train accident that killed second-camera assistant Sarah Jones and injured six others in February. “I am writing to you as one human being to another, and appealing to you from my heart,” Allman wrote, as first reported by the The Hollywood Reporter. “I am asking you from a personal perspective not to go forward.” READ FULL STORY

'Midnight Rider': After on-set death, William Hurt withdraws from film

William Hurt has withdrawn from a bio-pic of southern rocker Gregg Allman that has been targeted with a boycott by Hollywood crew workers following the death of a camera assistant in February, his representatives tell EW.

“The show must go on” is a maxim that has been around for as long as there have been shows – a rallying call for casts and crews who lose someone in the midst of a production. But the opposite call to action – “The show must stop” — is being directed at Midnight Rider. READ FULL STORY

Gregg Allman biopic 'Midnight Rider' will resume, move production to LA

Production on Midnight Rider will resume in June but will relocate from Georgia to Los Angeles in the aftermath of a deadly on-set train track accident which killed assistant camera operator Sarah Jones in February.

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Casting Net: Javier Bardem eyes Cortés role in 'Montezuma'; Plus, Mo'Nique, more

• Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) is reportedly interested in portraying Spanish explorer Hernando Cortés in Montezuma, a nearly 50-year old Dalton Trumbo (Spartacus) script that Oscar-winner Steve Zaillian (Schindler’s List) is updating. Steven Spielberg may have his sights on directing the project for DreamWorks, who currently owns the rights. Trumbo had apparently written the original script (one draft was 205 pages long!) for Kirk Douglas and director Martin Ritt. [Deadline]

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Casting Net: Russell Brand could play 'Cupid.' Plus: William Hurt, Margo Martindale, Adam Driver

• William Hurt will join Colin FarrellJessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey), Will Smith, and Russell Crowe in the rare mid-budget literary fable Winter’s Tale. Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) is making his directorial debut with his adaptation of the Mark Helprin novel, about a young woman (Findlay) who falls for a thief (Farrell) after he tries to rob from her vast Manhattan mansion. Hurt will play her father. Smith and Crowe have supporting roles. [Deadline]

• Girls‘s breakout Adam Driver (i.e. Lena Dunham’s oft-shirtless quasi-boyfriend) has joined the indie romantic comedy The F Word, playing the cocksure best friend to Daniel Radcliffe‘s character as he attempts to maneuver his way through being friends with a major crush (Zoe Kazan), who inconveniently has a long-term boyfriend. Michael Dowse (Goon) is directing from Elan Mastai‘s adaptation of the stage play by Michael Rinaldi and T.J. Dawe. [Variety]

• Margo Martindale‘s long deserved post-Emmy career boost continues, with the Justified actress joining the weighty cast of August: Osage County as the more-complex-than-she-seems sister of Meryl Streep‘s domineering family matriarch. Costars include Julia Roberts, Abigail BreslinJuliette Lewis, and Chris Cooper as Martindale’s husband. John Wells is directing, and Tracy Letts adapted his Pulitzer Prize-winning play for the screen. [Deadline]

• B.J. Novak (The Office) has joined Saving Mr. Banks, the true story about how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) spent years cajoling Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers for the rights to her literary creation. Novak will play Robert Sherman, who with his brother Richard (Jason Schwartzman), wrote the eventual Disney musical’s iconic songs. So basically he’s going to have “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” running through his head for months on end. John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) is directing. [THR]

Read more:
Casting Net: Hugh Jackman keen on MLK Jr. conspiracy drama. Plus: Selena Gomez, James Franco, Diane Lane
Casting Net: Emma Stone attached to Cameron Crowe romance. Plus: Russell Brand, Taylor Kitsch, Bill Murray
Casting Net: Alex Pettyfer to run off with Kristen Stewart in ‘Cali.’ Plus: Jason Schwartzman, Paul Giamatti

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