Today’s casting update features some names we haven’t heard in awhile, so let’s get right to it.
-- Andy and Lana Wachowski are teaming up with Tom Tykwer on an adaptation of David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas – and ScreenDaily says they’ve now added Hugh Grant to the cast.
Grant joins Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess and Ben Whishaw in the feature, which follows the progress of a soul across centuries and six separate existences. Sounds pretty heavy.
Shooting on Cloud Atlas is set to commence later this week, with location filming taking place in Glasgow, Spain, and Germany.
-- Actress Shirley MacLaine has signed on to appear in a modernized indie film take on Romeo & Juliet entitled The Locals.
The thespian-slash-author may be joined by Alan Arkin and Vera Farmiga in the update, which is set to begin shooting in the Bronx later this year. Deadline reports that the feature will put an Italian-Jewish twist on the Bard’s classic tale of forbidden love. Director Sue Kramer says this makes perfect sense, since “these two cultures have so much in common. Love of gab, love of food, they talk with their hands, and they feed you with guilt.” We’ll see if all of that translates to big screen success sometime next year most likely.
-- Actress Kelly Reilly is in negotiations to take on the lead female role in Robert Zemeckis’ upcoming drama Flight. Should the actress land the gig, she’ll be starring opposite Denzel Washington in a tale of a drug addicted young woman who meets a heroic commercial airline pilot who’s under investigation for drinking before he saved everyone on his flight. The duo become friends and try to control their demons according to Deadline – guess that sort of answers the question about how the investigation will turn out, eh?
Should Reilly win the part, she’ll have beaten out Olivia Wilde and Dominique McElligot for the role.
-- Finally, the long delayed (and presumed dead) remake of Sparkle has added Whitney Houston to the cast. The fallen diva will star alongside American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and comedian Mike Epps in the redo of the 1976 musical drama. The project was in development years ago, but came to a halt when R&B star Aaliyah died in a tragic plane crash. She’d been set to play the lead role.
The original film was loosely inspired by the rise of The Supremes, and the remake looks to tread similar ground. Sparks is set to star as the talented member of the group, Houston her not-so-supportive mother, and Epps as the husband of one of the sisters who gets his wife hooked on drugs.
Houston’s had her own run-ins with narcotics, and the film marks her first dramatic role since an appearance alongside Brandy Norwood in a made-for-television version of Cinderella. Husband and wife duo Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil will direct and produce the project according to THR.