Wayne Kramer (The Cooler, Running Scared) hit his first big bump, career-wise, with the release of 2009’s Crossing Over — fun fact: Harrison Ford literally does not remember being in that film — but those who liked his prior two are probably willing to let that one go. So, it’s with some optimism that I read he’s assembled a large, impressive cast for Pawn Shop Chronicles, a dark comedy he’s already started directing; Adam Minarovich is behind the screenplay.

The full lineup consists of Elijah Wood, Lukas Haas, Thomas Jane, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Vincent D’Onofrio, Pell James, Chi McBride, Ashlee Simpson, Kevin Rankin, DJ Qualls, Michael Cudlitz, and Norman Reedus. They’re all starring in a film whose logline brings Running Scared to mind — and I hold that as a good sign — although this comes across as an anthology piece at first glance.

Through a small town’s pawn shop, connections arise amongst “a man searching for his abducted wife, a couple of white supremacist meth heads and a sad sack Elvis impersonator.” (I can’t imagine Wood will be playing the Elvis impersonator, but that would make me immeasurably happy to see.) How this weaves into a plot is something I couldn’t tell you, though I wouldn’t be surprised if, as already stated, these objects become the center of inter-connected short films or something of the sort. Either way — and, understandably — an eclectic lineup of this cloth and Kramer‘s work behind the camera will have me looking out for Pawn Shop Chronicles. Mimran Schur Pictures are financing the movie, which has recently commenced shooting.

Secondly, Variety reports that Paz Vega (Madagascar 3, The Spirit) will reunite with her Talk to Her director, Pedro Almodóvar, on his upcoming comedy Standby Lovers. The details on her role hasn’t been laid out, but those seeking information on the film can find compensation with Variety’s plot description — our first of any sort — which claims the film will center on “a group of airplane passengers traveling to Mexico City who are provoked into colorful confessions when they are placed in a life-threatening situation.” (This confirms what the helmer’s brother and producer, Agustin Almodóvar, hinted at back in April.)

On the film, Almodóvar will once more team with Javier Cámara (Talk to Her), Cecilia Roth (All About My Mother), and Lola Dueñas (Volver), while José María Yazpik (The Burning Plain), Carlos Areces (Extraterrestrial), and Raúl Arévalo are also starring.

Does Pawn Shop Chronicles sound like a potential return to form for Kramer? Are you happy to see Vega and Almodóvar back in business?

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