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David Oyelowo Granted ‘One Shot’; Nathan Lane Becomes ‘The English Teacher’; Marisa Tomei Among ‘Us & Them’

Written by on September 14, 2011 

The best human performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes might have come from David Oyelowo, who played a character with more complexity than that film’s own lead. He’s actually been getting people’s attention for some time now, with Lee Daniels hiring him to play Martin Luther King Jr. in his failed biopic, Selma. (They’ll still be working together on The Paperboy.)

According to THR, one of his next projects might be One Shot, the Lee Child adaptation that stars Tom Cruise. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the story follows Jack Reacher, a man investigating the murder of five people by a sniper in a major city. Already co-starring is Rosamund Pike in the part of the female lead and love interest; Oyelowo is in talks for another big supporting role, playing “a veteran homicide detective investigating the shooting.” I’m sure he could do a lot with a small role, since we’ve already seen that from him before. Shooting will begin this fall, with a release for next year seeming likely.

Further casting has to do with Nathan Lane, who Variety reports as having a part in The English Teacher, a project that will have him starring alongside Julianne Moore and Greg Kinnear. Directed by TV guy Craig Zisk — with a screenplay from Dan and Stacy Chariton — the film is centered on “Linda Sinclair [Moore], a high school English teacher whose life is upended when a former star pupil returns to her small town after failing miserably as a playwright in New York.” The actor will appear as “a drama teacher who Moore’s character enlists to help her with the play.”

Some may consider Lane to be an annoying screen presence, but I like him in most things — particularly The Birdcage, where he kills. Perhaps casting him as a drama teacher is a little… stereotypical, or too easy, but all that matters is if he can pull off the part with some humor and flair; he’s already proven himself capable of that. The film’s production will commence next month.

Finally, Variety also informs us that Marisa Tomei has been added to the lineup of Us & Them, which is led Billy Crystal and Bette Milder. Written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (with earlier work by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse), the plot concerns a married couple played by the two stars, who “forge a new bond with their grandkids and set out to repair a long-standing rift with their daughter, Alice”; she has the part of Alice, while Bailey Madison is set to play one of the grandkids. The film will be directed by Race to Witch Mountain and You Again helmer Andy Fickman, and filming is scheduled to start this month.

The past few years have seen Tomei make a name for herself once again, and it’s justified; she’s a great actress. And when you consider that this is a dramedy, her ability to handle both drama and comedy in strong fashion should take things a long way. What we’ve heard so far about the actual project makes it sound okay, although I am a bit disappointed that this isn’t an experimental adaptation of one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs. Also: The idea of having those two actors play the parents of Marisa Tomei feels just a tad off, age-wise.

Are you looking forward to any of these films? Which piece of casting seems like the most interesting choice?

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