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Michael Caine and Samuel L. Jackson Board ‘Harry and the Butler’; Tim Blake Nelson Expands ‘Anesthesia’ Ensemble

Posted by , on November 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm 

Not everything that comes out of AFM should sound entirely stupid or carry the air of something that will never happen, no matter how frequently those tags still may apply. Case in point: THR inform us Michael Caine and Samuel L. Jackson (get your Batman / Marvel jokes out of the way already) are partnering for Harry and the Butler, which theater helmer George C. Wolfe (also of Nights of Rodanthe, though we’ll let that one go) is expected to take on for Spirit Films, Radiant Films, and Playground Entertainment.

In following the template established by an eponymous 1962 Danish picture, scribe Damian F. Slattery has penned a tale following “a derelict rollercoaster mechanic and one-time jazz virtuoso (Jackson), who lives in a converted train caboose in New Orleans.” Somehow, someway inheriting significant amounts of wealth, the protagonist “decides during a drunken celebration to hire a down-on-his-luck British butler (Caine).”

Shooting will commence in spring of 2014.

Following 2010′s Leaves of Grass, Tim Blake Nelson is continuing his directorial career with Anesthesia — a project recently reported to feature Kristen Stewart, and which is now expanding its cast rather exponentially and adequately. Deadline report that the picture in question has added Sam Waterston, Glenn Close, Corey Stoll (House of Cards), Michael K. Williams, Gretchen Mol, and its own helmer. The Law & Order actor will play Walter Zarrow, a philosophy professor at Columbia whose mugging manages to converge “the disparate stories of New Yorkers,” with Close portraying the central character’s wife; Stoll starring as “an investment banker who witnesses the attack”; Mol taking on the role of “his wife, an alcoholic New Jersey homemaker”; Nelson appearing as his son; and Stewart fitting into the role of Sophie, “Zarrow’s troubled student.”

Production is currently underway.

Hopefully ending the streak of appearing in films for too-short a period, James Badge Dale (Flight, Shame, The Lone Ranger, World War Z, The Grey; you get the idea) has, per Deadline‘s word, been added to the cast of David Mamet‘s next picture, Blackbird, which is already expected to star Cate Blanchett. The ever-prolific, ever-controversial writer-director is next tackling the Kennedy assassination, this story concerning a woman who, attending his funeral services, discovers that her grandfather, a former Hollywood visual effects artist, was somehow connected to one of America’s darkest days. After his participation in Parkland, it goes to show that not everyone in that ensemble is excepted from further films centered on the subject.

Deadline also tell us Sienna Miller will fill in a role for Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck‘s Mississippi Grind. Ryan Reynolds took a lead role in June, joining Ben Mendelsohn in the story of “a down-on-his-luck gambler (Mendelsohn) facing crushing debt who teams up with a younger gambling addict (Reynolds) in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what has been lost.” The actress’s role has yet to be noted, though with Electric City Entertainment and Sycamore Entertainment planning for cameras to roll in two months’ time, things ought to become clearer soon.

Furthermore, TheWrap tell us Aaron Eckhart is expected to headline Fade Out, a psychological thriller scripted by Michael Cristofer (The Bonfire of the Vanities) that producer Robert Salerno will make his directorial debut. Following his nervous breakdown, a screenwriter takes off with his wife to a tropical villa in hopes of recovering; the efforts are impeded, however, when “[he] starts writing a new script about a jealous husband who murders his unfaithful wife, but his intense paranoia and hallucinations cause fiction and reality to blur.” The spouse disappears, soon enough, requiring him to “outrun the police as he pieces together the puzzle seemingly designed by his very own mind.”

To end on a note both wacky and trashy, Variety report that Dwayne Johnson will headline Seal Team 666 — which, yes, is almost exactly what that title would conjure for you. As scripted by Evan Spiliotopoulos (of the star’s own, upcoming Hercules), the picture revolves around “a group of Navy Seals who battle demons and assorted threats and discover that there’s a greater supernatural force bent on destroying the world.”

Variety note that Johnson isn’t sure about Seal Team 666 this could fit into his schedule, but if he cares at all about consumer satisfaction…

Which project are you most hoping to see come together? Does any of the casting inspire a reaction?


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