Two more days ‘til Turkey Day – which means your short work week is almost over. Here are a few casting updates to help you sail through another Tuesday.
-- Last week, we told you Luke Wilson and David Schwimmer were joining the cast of The Iceman – a film based on the real-life exploits of mob hitman Richard Kuklinski. Today, we bring you another update about the film, as one actor in the cast departs and is replaced.
Deadline is reporting that James Franco is out of the project now and will be replaced by Chris Evans. Evans will be playing a character about as far removed from Captain America as can be when he takes on the part of Robert Pronge, mentor to the murderous Kuklinksi. The film is set to start shooting next month, with Michael Shannon in the lead role. We’ll bring you more as it develops.
-- Amber Heard continues to line up work in Hollywood, and her latest gig finds her appearing alongside Dominic Cooper in the upcoming feature Motor City. Heard landed the female lead in the Albert Hughes-directed revenge thriller, which focuses on a man (Cooper) who is released from prison and goes out to hunt down the people who framed him. Doesn’t sound quite as prestigious as Heard’s last gig – appearing with Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary – but work is work. [via Deadline]
-- Kenneth Branagh may not be returning to direct a Thor sequel for Marvel Comics, but the actor-slash-filmmaker isn’t exactly sitting around doing nothing. Branagh is working on an adaptation of Henning Mankell’s Swedish novel, Italian Shoes.
Branagh’s film is still in the very early stages of development, but he’s got two major stars eyeing leading roles. ComingSoon says Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench are currently in talks to tackle major roles in the film.
If you haven’t read Italian Shoes, here’s a brief plot synopsis.
From the prizewinning "master of atmosphere" (Boston Globe) comes the surprising and affecting story of a man well past middle age who suddenly finds himself on the threshold of renewal.
Living on a tiny island entirely surrounded by ice during the long winter months, Fredrik Welin is so lost to the world that he cuts a hole in the ice every morning and lowers himself into the freezing water to remind himself that he is alive. Haunted by memories of the terrible mistake that drove him to this island and away from a successful career as a surgeon, he lives in a stasis so complete an anthill grows undisturbed in his living room.
When an unexpected visitor alters his life completely, thus begins an eccentric, elegiac journey—one that shows Mankell at the very height of his powers as a novelist.
Production on Italian Shoes is expected to start in late 2012 or early 2013.
-- Finally, we close this casting roundup with news that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is now attached to star in Monster Hunter’s Survival Guide – yet another film based on a comic book.
Plot details for the project are scarce, and reading a description of the comic doesn’t really help clarify matters – it basically makes it sound like the series is a real manual for hunting cryptids. We’re not sure how Johnson will fit in with that, but we suspect he’ll be dropping "The People’s Elbow" on Bigfoot or something equally entertaining.
The role is the latest in a major comeback for Johnson – who not only appeared in Fast Five, but is hard at work on G.I. Joe 2 and has returned to the world of professional wrestling. [via Deadline]