Casting Roundup: Angelina Jolie Eyes 'Gertrude Bell', Gerard Butler Wants to play Simon Mann, Luke Wilson Joins Elvis' Memphis Mafia

Casting Roundup: Angelina Jolie Eyes 'Gertrude Bell', Gerard Butler Wants to play Simon Mann, Luke Wilson Joins Elvis' Memphis Mafia

Nov 18, 2011

Actor Luke WilsonWhile Occupy protesters may be demonstrating over a lack of jobs, Hollywood actors seem to be having no problems landing new gigs. Here’s your latest casting news.

-- Luke Wilson and Kevin Connolly are the latest names being mentioned for parts in Cary Elwes’ directorial debut, Elvis & Nixon. The film, which is a comedic look at Elvis’ meeting with the President in 1970 (wherein Presley suggested he be made a “Federal Agent At-Large” for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs), is set to start shooting in January.

Wilson is reportedly in negotiations to play Sonny, one of The King’s Memphis Mafia partners according to THR. Connolly, meanwhile, is officially attached as Ronnie – a limo driver. They join Eric Bana (Elvis) and Danny Huston (Nixon) in the cast list.

-- THR also reports that Angelina Jolie is attached to Gertrude Bell, an in-development biopic that would see the actress teaming up with director Ridley Scott.

The film is based on the life of a woman described as “the female  Lawrence of Arabia.” Bell chronicled her archeological adventures in the region in the early 20th century and helped set up the framework for the formation of Iraq and Jordan. It sounds like a perfect role for Jolie – one that marries her love of strong humanitarian women with her previous turn as Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft.

Scott is mulling over directing the film, but hasn’t decided what his next project after Prometheus will be yet. Gertrude Bell isn’t set up at a studio yet, but if names like Jolie and Scott are involved, there’ll be no shortage of suitors for this project.

-- Speaking of Ridley Scott, Deadline reports that he’s attached to direct an untitled thriller based on real-life events with Gerard Butler potentially taking the lead role.

The film would follow the exploits of Simon Mann, a former British Army officer who attempted to stage a coup of Equatorial Guinea back in 2004. Mann’s plan was thwarted when he went to pick up weapons in Zimbabwe and he then spent five years in prison in that country, before being returned to Equatorial Guinea and sentenced to another 34. He was pardoned in 2009.

Naturally, Butler wants to tackle the role of Mann – and maybe this can be the role that brings the actor out his long streak of disappointing films in the wake of 300. It’s too soon to even guess about that, but sources surrounding the project say that this project will move forward and eventually be made. Whether it’s with Scott helming and Butler starring is another matter. 

Categories: In Development, News
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