The stars can shine and amaze with all their talents, but they cannot always make a schedule work. Case in point: despite earlier news telling us Jake Gyllenhaal had been scheduled to lead Mississippi Grind, the new movie from Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Half Nelson) — complete with Ben Mendelsohn, no less — he’s since left the project. Stepping in his place? Ryan Reynolds.
Scripted by the duo, Mississippi Grind revolves around “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.” Can he make a suitable replacement for Gyllenhaal? Sure: neither have a discernible acting style of their own, so it’s unlikely we’ll consider “what could have been” in this instance. Electric City are producing the title, which is expected to begin filming in early 2014.
Then there’s a swing of old British men: Christopher Plummer will step in for Michael Caine on Imagine, an Al Pacino-led, music-based drama set to shoot in a few days’ time. Crazy, Stupid, Love. scribe Dan Fogelman will make his helming debut on the project, wherein a rock star character is given a letter by his manager, written by John Lennon, that was intended to be delivered in his teens, and spurs him to set out on a journey to clean up and get back into making music he loves. He carries this out by visiting his estranged son and becoming friends with the manager of a New Jersey hotel he’s staying at.
Plummer is to take up the manager position — taking that character from “smartly goofy” to “admirably stentorian” — while the rest of Imagine is filled out by Bobby Cannavale, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, and Josh Peck.
Do Reynolds and Plummer make for suitable replacements?