With their second feature together, The East, writer/director Zal Batmanglij and writer/actress Brit Marling have been able to attract much bigger names than were present in their previous effort, Sound of My Voice. The critical reception to that film is assuredly to thank for that; a big actor getting attached to a rising indie filmmaker’s next project is always a smart move, career and reputation-wise.
After landing Alexander Skarsgård for the part of an eco-terrorist leader “seeking revenge against unethical corporations,” Variety has now learned that Ellen Page will be joining the cast. Her role is is described as “Izzy, a member of The East who used to be Skarsgard’s lover and is now jealous of the attention he pays Marling’s character”; Felicity Jones was going to take the role, but had to drop out. It should be noted that Marling is playing an agent for a private contracting firm who goes undercover with this group, called The East.
They note that Page is the first real star to join the production, and it’s hard to deny that her presence will grant the film a lot more attention when it hits theaters, possibly sometime next year. Production will begin on November 1st.
More casting news is coming from Variety; this time, they’re informing us that Woody Harrelson is in talks to join Now You See Me, from director Louis Leterrier. This will see (ha!) him reuniting with his Zombieland co-star, Jesse Eisenberg, while the rest of the main lineup is filled out by Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Isla Fisher, and Melanie Laurent.
The story follows a group called The Four Horsemen, who rob banks using their skills as magicians. Harrelson would play “Merritt Osbourne, a mentalist and hypnotist known for his Jedi-style mind tricks. He used to perform overseas for the Queen of England, but a bloody incident forces him to flee to Vegas,” where he joins the Horsemen, who are led by Eisenberg.
Among the character outlines that have been made available, one of them lists Freeman as an “ex-magician who’s made a late career of exposing other trickster’s tricks,” while Fisher will have the part of “Henley, a master technician who builds contraptions to aid in the illusion of the heists.” Is there a mini-ensemble thing going on here, to be complimented by Ruffalo and Laurent‘s government agents? I like that a whole lot.
The script has been written by Edward Ricourt and Boaz Yakin — with rewrites by Andre Nemec and Josh Applebaum — and production is likely to begin before the year’s end.
Are you looking forward to these movies? How do you feel about either casting choice?
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