will ferrell russ meyer

The rare bit of casting that sounds completely, totally perfect at first notice comes from Deadline, who tell us Will Ferrell has entered talks to lead Russ & Roger Go Beyond, a film concerning the working relationship between Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert. He’d portray the former, who’d found a much-desired “legitimate” studio production in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — a project Meyer wanted to see scripted by Ebert, seeing as the young critic wrote one of the director’s only positive reviews. [Deadline]

Christopher Cluess (The Simpsons) has penned the project, which is reportedly gaining the interest of many directors — Edgar Wright included, though that’s not to suggest he’s a lock of any sort. We’ll know soon, however: Sobini Films are fast-tracking Russ & Roger Go Beyond with hopes of being in production early next year. By then, Ferrell‘s Meyer will be accompanied by someone’s Ebert. Casting on that role will be a very curious thing indeed.

jennifer-connelly-wearing-louis-vuitton-at-noah-new-york-city-premiere_2Following news that Ewan McGregor would lead a long-gestating adaptation of Philip Roth‘s American Pastoral, a press release from Lakeshore Entertainment reports that Jennifer Connelly will take a major supporting role. The actress — who, like director Phillip Noyce, has been linked to this endeavor since the mid-2000s — will play Dawn Levov, wife of Seymour “Swede” Levov; in Roth‘s Pulitzer-winning novel, the couple are traumatized after their teenage daughter, Merry, commits an act of political terrorism in protest of the Vietnam War. When it’s a tough and complicated part on the page, let’s hope producer Stuart Rosenberg touting her as “one of the great actresses of our time” is indicative of what direction they’d like to take things. This is not a novel to treat with kid gloves.

American Pastoral will begin production in March, with Lakeshore Entertainment on producing duties.

laura linney geniusThe Daily Mail have learned that Laura Linney is aboard Genius, the Colin Firth-, Jude Law-, and Nicole Kidman-led drama. Michael Grandage, making his feature debut, directs the John Logan-penned biopic of Max Perkins, a publisher responsible for bringing the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway to readers — and who, of course, had a personal life someone feels is worth shaping into its own story.

With as much in mind, Linney will portray Perkins’s wife, Louise Sanders, with whom the publisher had an estranged marriage. (Yeats himself called it “a continual farewell.”) With Kidman stepping into the shoes of writer Aline Bernstein and Law set for the role of author Thomas Wolfe, Grandage will roll cameras on Genius this October.

bill-murray-premiereSome smaller casting notices, first from The Wrap. Sources indicate Bill Murray is next to sign for Jon Favreau‘s The Jungle Book, voicing “Baloo the jolly bear who befriends the human orphan Mowgli (Neel Sethi).” The live-action-animation hybrid also stars Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken, and Giancarlo Esposito; Disney are releasing it on October 9, 2015.

The final bit concerns Elle Fanning, who’s been tapped to headline All the Bright Places. An adaptation of Jennifer Niven‘s upcoming YA novel, its story follows teens (surprise) who find common ground in their mutual confusion regarding existence. The leads, Violet (“who learns to live”) and Finch (“who intends to die”), make “an unspoken promise […]: stop counting the days and start living them.” How much of the Fault in Our Stars-esque sugary-sweet sentiment should people prepare themselves for — a little, or enough to put one in a diabetic coma?

Mitchell Kaplan and Paula Mazur are producing All the Bright Places.

Are you hopeful about any of the projects listed herein? Which casting notice most catches your attention?

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