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Jessica Chastain, Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead & More Land New Roles

Written by on July 16, 2013 

The two would have shared a credit just some months back, but Terrence Malick excised her appearance from To the Wonder. Now, bringing them together falls to J.C. Chandor: according to Variety, Jessica Chastain will take the second lead in A Most Violent Year, to which Javier Bardem (most recently seen in this spring’s divisive romantic journey) has been attached since last month. While the actress’ part goes unlisted, we at least know that, for his next feature, the All Is Lost helmer is tackling a 1983-set drama centered on “a successful businessman who is obsessed with maintaining his oil empire.” Nevertheless, as that initial description had made note of the protagonist’s wife, there’s reason enough to expect Chastain in a spousal position.

A Most Violent Year will begin shooting in a few months’ time, with 2014 likely bringing a release.

Next up, TheWrap have learned that Ben Whishaw — off a (thus far) career-best year with Skyfall and Cloud Atlas — could be taking residency aboard the ship of Ron Howard‘s In the Heart of the Sea. As the project’s been filling out for some time now — building a lineup that includes Chris Hemsworth, Brendan Gleeson, Cillian Murphy, Benjamin Walker, and Tom Holland — you may already be aware of its general, true-to-life plot, wherein a ship (the Essex) was destroyed by a whale — serving as the central inspiration for crew member Herman Melville when shaping Moby Dick.

And, thus, there’s a big role in store for Whishaw, who’s been approached to portray the scribe. (Harry Potter actor Frank Dillane is, too, circling the title.) Nothing’s been signed, on his own part, though the attraction between a rising star and a studio mapping out one of their “prestige” pictures ought to be strong; don’t count on this one falling through.

Scripted by Charles Leavitt — as adapted from Nathaniel Philbrick‘s eponymous account — In the Heart of the Sea is expected to begin shooting in September.

In one of the more preferable formats for news delivery this writer has yet seen, Jon Favreau has announced, on Vine, that the great Dustin Hoffman will take some part — at this time, a detail-free sort — in the currently shooting Chef. As far as all else goes, the director will also take the role of star, playing Carl Casper, a former big-time chef who loses his job and starts a food truck in Los Angeles.

Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale, and Sofia Vergara will also be seen in the movie, hitting next year.

According to Deadline, Mary Elizabeth Winstead has made for the latest addition to Kill the Messenger, a quickly developing drama led by Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Barry Pepper. Detailed here, the fact-based drama centers on the trials of journalist Gary Webb, who had committed suicide after a smear campaign by the CIA ruined his professional career; Winstead has been tapped for the part of Dawn Garcia, his editor at San Jose Mercury News. Michael Cuesta (Homeland) will direct, having at hand a screenplay from Peter Landesman (this fall’s Parkland).

Bluegrass Films and Renner‘s own The Combine are to produce Kill the Messenger.

Also at TheWrap, it’s said that the Will Smith-led Focus has found a female replacement. While Kristen Stewart was recently attached, the aforementioned star’s own addition forced WB and helmers Glenn Ficarra & John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love.) to nab a co-star closer to his own age. In her place, all involved parties actually found someone a few months younger: Margot Robbie, an Australian star most recently seen in the trailer for Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street (don’t worry: she’ll be in the final picture) and the preferred choice over “several higher-profile actresses including Jessica Biel.” No word as to why that age qualification was thrown out the window, though it speaks well for this up-and-coming performer.

Should a signing take place, movement on Focus will pick up speed in short time.

Finally, TheWrap have been told that former Beastie Boys member Adam Horovitz (or Ad-Rock) is making a rare onscreen turn for Noah Baumbach. The writer-director, in preparing While We’re Young, has nabbed the musician to portray “a married friend of [Ben] Stiller and [Naomi] Watts‘ characters who just had a baby and can no longer relate to the childless couple or why they feel the need to hang out with twentysomething hipsters.” Said “hipsters” — to be portrayed by Adam Driver (Baumbach‘s Frances Ha, Girls) and Amanda Seyfried — shake up an older couple’s lives once both sides start a friendship.

While We’re Young should commence production in the fall and arrive next year.

Which project are you anticipating most greatly? How do these recent changes affect your hopes?


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