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‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ Star Dwight Henry In Steve McQueen’s ‘Slave’; Catherine Keener Sings Carney’s ‘Song’

Written by on June 26, 2012 

Hard as it is to believe, Beasts of the Southern Wild was, five months ago, just another Sundance competitor with a wacky title and some intriguing imagery by its side. But, with the film now riding a wave of acclaim into tomorrow’s first theatrical showings, the payoff for its stars and creative voices will only come quicker and more noticeably.

Next up is lead actor Dwight Henry. He’s just struck a pretty thrilling deal, since The Washington Post (via ThePlaylist) has pegged him as the next star of Steve McQueen‘s Twelve Years a Slave; in other words, he took a twelve-month trip from being the owner of a New Orleans bakery to someone working with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt. For what’s practically an overnight success, Henry gets a tip of my old hat.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Alfre Woodard, Garret Dillahunt, Lupita Nyong’o, Adepero Oduye, Scott McNairy, Sarah Paulson, Michael K. Williams, and Chris Chalk are also in Twelve Years a Slave, which is currently shooting and aiming for a 2013 release.

If you hate to see the little people succeed, there’s no call for alarm: A more well-known actor got work today, too. Deadline reports that Catherine Keener will lend some pipes to Can a Song Save Your Life?, a new drama from helmer John Carney (Once) and producer Judd Apatow. Well, she probably won’t sing — which, in some sad way, kind of puts this in league with Frank or Francis — as she’s been called upon to play Miriam, the estranged wife to a music producer (Mark Ruffalo). His character bonds with the real vocalist, though, she being a struggling woman (Keira Knightley) looking for catharsis after her boyfriend (Adam Levine) ends their relationship.

The part sounds tangential — at least, when you look at the bigger picture and imagine how this might all converge — but if you need a good actress in, well, any role that could reasonably fit Keener, she’s a fantastic option.

Hailee Steinfeld also stars in Can a Song Save Your Life?, which will commence production in the very near future.

Is it interesting to see James make such a quick ascension? What could Catherine Keener bring to Song?

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