News Briefs

According to E! casting agents for New Moon, the second film in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, recently held an open call in Vancouver and where so overwhelmed at the response that they closed the doors at noon. The line began forming at 5 a.m. and soon stretched for blocks with fans coming from as far away as Florida just for the one day call. The walk ons will join the likes of Dakota Fanning, AnnaLynne McCord, Lucy Hale and Vanessa Hudgens in the competition for roles in New Moon, due out in November.

Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures has acquired the remake rights to two horrors, Anguish and Room 205, to be renamed The Dorm. Anguish is a remake of Bigas Luna’s 1987 film of the same name, wherein a film-within-a-film tells the story of a mother-fixated optician’s assistant who loses his job and goes on a killing spree. But the real plot concerns the patrons of a small cinema who are watching the film when a killer starts to murder them in ways that mirror the film’s plot. In the remake, the protagonists are two girls who find real life mirroring the horror film they’re watching. The Dorm is a remake of Danish film Room 205, wherein a student finds her college room haunted and some of her neighbours dying off in suspicious circumstances.

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman are uniting for The Baster, a romantic comedy from Blades of Glory codirectors Will Speck and Josh Gordon. Per Variety, when Aniston’s character decides to get preggers via artificial insemination, her best friend Bateman swaps the donor’s sample with some of his own, unbeknownst to Aniston. Shooting is set for this spring in New York.

Sam Rockwell has signed on to star alongside Hilary Swank in Betty Anne Waters. Minnie Driver has also bagged a role in the legal drama. Based on a true story, Rockwell will play Kenneth Waters, the brother of the heroine. When he was convicted of a murder-robbery in 1983, Betty Anne (Swank), an unemployed single mother, spent the next two decades slowly earning a law degree and fighting tirelessly to overturn the conviction. Rumour had it that John C. Reilly had been set to play Kenneth initially, but the charismatic Rockwell seems to be a fine choice for the role. The movie will be directed by Tony Goldwyn.

Camilla Belle is taking the title role in Mary, Mother of Christ, which, per the Hollywood Reporter, will follow the young life and love of the virgin mother. The film, hoping to play to the same audience that flocked to The Passion of the Christ, also stars Peter O’Toole and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who takes on the dual role of Gabriel the archangel and Lucifer. Producers are also seeking to cast Al Pacino and Jessica Lange in the film, which is due for release on Good Friday, April 2, 2010.

Zachary Levi, the star of the hit TV show, Chuck, has bagged his first big movie by signing on to star in Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel. Levi will play the cousin of Jason Lee’s returning Dave Seville in the sequel, which will be directed by Betty Thomas. There’s no word, though, on how big Levi’s part will be much depends on whether Lee is merely making a cameo, or if he’s coming back in the lead role.

Disney star Gomez is set to try her hand as the older sister Ramona Quimby. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Gomez will play Ramona’s titular big sis in Beezus and Ramona, based on the Beverly Cleary book series. Ramona will be played by Joey King in the film, scheduled for release on March 19, 2010.

Robert Downey Jr. has denied to MTV that fellow Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke is set to play his nemesis in the upcoming Iron Man sequel. Downey Jr. played the lead role of tycoon-turned-superhero Tony Stark in the 2008 comic book movie and is set to to return for a follow-up. Rumours about actors set to join the cast of Iron Man 2 have been swirling for months, with stars including Emily Blunt, Tim Robbins and Sam Rockwell all linked to the project.

According to Production Weekly, principal photography on Alexandre Rockwell’s Pete Small is Dead is to kick off in March. Amongst the cast are Steve Buscemi, Sam Rockwell and Peter Dinklage, who have worked together on Peter Judson’s Nobody Wants Your Film a documentary about how an independent film gets knocked back every step of the way.

Filmmaker Neil Labute has grabbed a two-film deal with Sony’s Screen Gems arm, with his first project planned as a remake of Death At A Funeral, including Chris Rock as the star. The original Death, which Frank Oz directed in 2007 featured the likes of Alan Tudyk, Matthew MacFadyen and Peter Dinklage in a tale of family secrets and comic misunderstandings.

Vancouver Sun
Production Weekly
TotalFilm News