It’s been a relatively quiet year for Tom Hardy, at least compared to a rather flurried 2015 that saw the English-born actor earn his first Oscar nomination for his performance in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s The Revenant and swing across countless screens in George Miller’s critical and financial behemoth Mad Max: Fury Road. Now, it looks as if Hardy will be anything but idle in 2017.

With shooting complete on Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic Dunkirk, set for a July 21, 2017 release, Deadline is now reporting that Hardy has come aboard Studiocanal’s Ernest Shackleton biopic to play the man himself. Shackleton, a polar explorer, led three British expeditions to the Antarctic between 1901 and 1917. With the third expedition nearly costing Shackleton and his crew their lives when their ship, the Endurance, was decimated by ice floes. Shackleton led his comrades to safety through brutal, sub-zero conditions, further cementing his status as a heroic figure. The film will be written by Frank and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy scribe Peter Straughan.

gugu-mbatha-rawMeanwhile, Ava DuVernay‘s A Wrinkle in Time, now in pre-production, has added Gugu Mbatha-Raw to its already stellar cast, along with Chris Pine. Led by up-and-coming actress Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, and Reese Witherspoon, the film, based on Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery Medal-winning children’s book, follows a young girl, her younger brother, and a schoolmate on an interplanetary journey to find her scientist father who disappeared a few years earlier. DuVernay’s 13th follow-up is scheduled to begin filming later this fall in Atlanta. You can see Gugu Mbatha-Raw next in Jessica Chastain’s gun drama, Miss Sloane. [THR/Deadline]

It appears that Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons can’t get enough of each other. THR has also divulged that Plemons has joined the cast of his Fargo co-star’s directorial debut, The Bell Jar. Based on Sylvia Plath’s literary classic about a young woman struggling with mental illness, and led by Dakota Fanning, it is scheduled for a 2017 release. Plemons continues his meteoric cinematic rise, coming off memorable turns in both Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies and the Johnny Depp-led Black Mass.

elle-fanning-2016The Hollywood Reporter is… well, reporting that Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning have officially signed on to the Reed Morano-helmed post apocalyptic comedy I Think We’re Alone Now. The Automatik Entertainment-produced project, written by Mike Makowsky, follows Del (Dinklage) as he adjusts to his newfound loneliness after the human race is mysteriously wiped out. His desire for seclusion now a reality, Del must find a way to keep a second survivor (Fanning) from ruining his uninhabited paradise. Morano, perhaps best known for her cinematography credits on The Skeleton Twins and Kill Your Darlings, is making only her second feature-film behind the camera (following Meadowland). Morano has also directed three episodes, including the pilot, of the upcoming Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale, starring Elisabeth Moss.

According to Deadline, Peter Guralnick’s book Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘N’ Roll has been acquired by Paramount Pictures with Leonardo DiCaprio expected to star in the title role. DiCaprio’s Appian Way will develop alongside a plethora of producers, including music heavyweight Mick Jagger and Guralnick himself. Phillips was an invaluable asset to the music industry, launching the careers of several of music’s best and brightest including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Ike Turner, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

DiCaprio has yet to select a follow-up role to his Oscar-winning turn in The Revenant, although it is possibly that the actor could be teaming up with longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese for The Devil in the White City sooner than later. As for the Sam Phillips biopic, the would-be film, based on Guralnick’s book published in 2015, has yet to secure a writer or director.

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