8 items from 2014
Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts will join James Franco in Michael, directed by Justin Kelly. Based on the New York Times Magazine article by Benoit Denizet-Lewis titled “My Ex-Gay Friend,” the story follows a pastor who was formerly gay, but later renounced homosexuality. Quinto will play ex-boyfriend to Franco’s character; Roberts will play his girlfriend. Chris Zylca (The Leftovers) will play another former love interest. Gus Van Sant is executive producer, alongside producers Franco, Vince Jolivette, Michael Mendelsohn, Ron Singer, and Scott Reeve. [Variety]
Walt Disney Animation Studios has revealed its voice cast for Big Hero 6, which follows a young robotics prodigy, »
- C. Molly Smith
The new comedy, titled “Grimsby,” is set to star “Borat” actor Sacha Baron Cohen as a football hooligan. The lead, played by Mark Strong, is a British black-ops spy who must go on the run with his idiotic brother (Cohen). London-based casting director Lucy Bevan is set to cast the upcoming feature. Meanwhile, “The Driftless Area,” a new comedy starring Zooey Deschanel, is being cast by Mary Vernieu of Betty Mae, Inc. The film follows a bartender who returns to his hometown after his parents die, only to fall in love with a mysterious woman (Deschanel) who is also sought by a hot-tempered criminal. It shoots in May in Vancouver, B.C. »
NBC's new pilot "Feed Me" has a casting director attached, Backstage has learned. The late-order dark comedy centers on Emma, the daughter of a restaurant-owning family, whose husband cheats on her. Mary-Louise Parker is set to star and Dava Waite, of Dava Waite Peaslee Casting, is set to cast. Meanwhile, "Divergent," the first film installment based on the young adult novels by Veronica Roth, won't hit theaters until later this month but casting is already gearing up on the sequel. Mary Vernieu and Venus Kanani of Betty Mae, Inc. will return to cast "Insurgent," the sequel in Roth's trilogy. In the sci-fi romance, Shailene Woodley, who played George Clooney's daughter in "The Descendants," stars as Beatrice "Tris" Prior, a "divergent" young woman living in a futuristic world where society is divided based on individuals' virtues. The fifth installment of "Mission: Impossible," meanwhile, will be cast by Mindy Marin, of Casting Artists, »
The ninety minute film follows the story of Howard Holloway (Gregg) as a failed child actor turned agent whose strong morals continue to make him unsuccessful in life, all until he meets teen actress Lydia (played by Saxon Sharbino), a fourteen year old talented actress whose alcoholic father is a major setback in her life. Howard promises himself that he won’t let the chance of a lifetime to represent Lydia slip away in this captivating black comedy about a generally ruthless business.
The film stars not only Gregg and Sharbino but also Amanda Peet, Felicity Huffman, Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Molly Shannon and Paul Sparks and was produced by Keith Kjarval, Aaron Gilbert, Mary Vernieu and many more. »
- Catherina Gioino
David O. Russell, who recently declared "I can't figure TV out," has had a drama project ordered straight to series by ABC. The "American Hustle" director was downbeat after getting asked about his small-screen prospects at a recent event for his Oscar-nominated film. "If they'll let me," he said in response to a question about whether he'd do a TV series. "I can't figure TV out." As it turns out, they will. And he did. Russell and screenwriter Susannah Grant are teaming for a "soapy" drama centered on a private country club, according to reports. The untitled series, which got a 13-episode order from ABC, is Russell's first foray into television. It's unclear if Mary Vernieu, Russell's long-time casting director, will be filling the roles on the series. Her office at Betty Mae Inc. said it wasn't confirmed if she was attached to the project. »
The characters comprising this year’s SAG-nominated ensembles are based on either real people or memorable stage characters. So it’s safe to say casting directors had shoes of epic proportions to fill.
Rich Delia, who cast “Dallas Buyers Club” with Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee, says the fundamental challenge was finding actors who felt authentic. “When you’re playing people that are based on real people in such intense circumstances, you really want to cast people that have an understanding and a respect for that,” Delia says. “We really don’t want anyone to pull you out of the story.”
Similarly, “12 Years a Slave” — based on the memoir of Solomon Northup, a free man sold into slavery — also tells a harrowing tale of historic significance. “When you have a story that means so much to so many people, it’s daunting,” says casting directing Francine Maisler.
While this is an age-old challenge, »
- Maane Khatchatourian
Starz Digital Media, the digital and on-demand distributor that’s a division of Starz, will release the pic on digital and VOD platforms in May ahead of a June theatrical release.
Pic is the second written and directed by actor Gregg (“The Avengers,” “Agents of Shield”) after “Choke,” his 2008 adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel. In “Trust Me” he co-stars with young thesp Saxon Sharbino alongside Sam Rockwell (who also appeared in “Choke”), Amanda Peet, Allison Janney, William H. Macy, Molly Shannon and Felicity Huffman.
Dark comedy’s storyline centers on a down-on-his-luck talent agent determined to achieve Hollywood success with a 13-year-old star (Sharbino) he’s discovered. Film was produced by Unified Pictures’ Keith Kjarval, Savage Bunny’s Mary Vernieu and Gregg, »
- Gordon Cox
Starz Digital Media has acquired Us rights to Trust Me from UTA.
The film will go out on digital platforms and VOD in May, one month before the June theatrical debut.
Trust Me premiered at Tribeca 2013 and follows a down-and-out children’s agent who discovers a starlet with enough promise to turn his career around.
8 items from 2014
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