Category Archives: Theatre

Casting Call – January 18

Latest casting news from TV and film.

Tom Cruise looks set to work with his Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman on a new project which would see the actor playing a pilot in the 1980s. No, it’s not another Top Gun, this time Cruse would be playing a real-life pilot called Barry Seal who was a gun runner and drug trafficker who transported contraband for the CIA and the Medellin cartel. If Cruise and Liman sign on then the film, called Mena, is expected to be made later this year.

Stevie Wonder is working with NBC on a miniseries set against the background of America’s underground railway and the slaves who worked on it. The series is already being developed into. Broadway musical with Stevie writing the score. NBC has also signed a deal with Dolly Parton to work on a series of TV movies based on her songs, stories and life. The films are expected to include music but won’t be musicals and Dolly may appear in them.

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Lea Michele, Joe Manganiello, Abigail Breslin, Ariana Grande and Keke Palmer have joined the cast of new TV series Scream Queens. They join Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts who have already signed on to the drama which has been created by Ryan Murphy. Like almost all of Murphy’s shows (apart from Glee) it will be an anthology series with the first season set on a college campus which is rocked by a series of murders. The show will air from this autumn.

How’s this for a dream cast? Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Steve Carell are all in talks to appear in a new film called The Big Short. The multi-strand drama is set against backdrop of the housing and credit bubbles of the 2000s that led to the 2007-08 global financial crisis. Everyone’s currently in talks so we’ll have to see what happens but wouldn’t it be great if they all sign on?

Hugh Jackman is set to star in a new film about Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards. He won’t be playing the ski-jumper, that will be rising star Taron Egerton. Instead the Oscar-nominated actor will appear as Eddie’s mentor, Chuck Berghorn. The film’s been in development for years, I remember Rupert Grint being attached to play Eddie at one point, but it looks like it’s finally going ahead with Dexter Fletcher directing.

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Jennifer Lawrence is expected to play a freediver in a new film based on a true story. JLaw is in talks to star in The Dive which is being produced by James Cameron. Francis Lawrence is in talks to direct. The film tells the story of Francisco “Pipin” Ferraras and his wife Audrey Mestre, who competed to travel as deep as possible underwater on a single breath of air. Lawrence will play Mestre, who died during an attempt to beat her own world record of 557.7 feet.

Ben Affleck looks set to work with David Fincher once again on a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. To make it a proper Gone Girl reunion, Gillian Flynn is expected to write the script. Although based on Hitchcock’s adaptation of the original novel by Patricia Highsmith, the new version is expected to differ somewhat. Affleck will play a movie star in the middle of a campaign for an Oscar during awards season whose private plane breaks down and is given a ride to LA on another plane by a wealthy stranger. Sounds pretty awesome.

Meanwhile Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow are joining Affleck on another project. They’re both in talks to appear in thriller The Accountant. They join Anna Kendrick, JK Simmons and Jon Bernthal who have already been cast in the thriller which follows a mild-mannered accountant who also happens to be an assassin. Gavin O’Connor directs.

Edgar Wright may work with Ansel Elgort on his next film. Elgort is in early talks to star in Baby Driver Which is about a young getaway driver who is coerced into working for a crime boss.

Former West Wing star Bradley Whitford is joining the cast to Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He will play the father of Andy Samberg’s character Jake Peralta. Whitford is set to appear in at least one episode as Captain Roger Peralta, a charming regional airline pilot who has made a career out of letting down Jake.

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Casting Call – January 11

A weekly round-up of the latest casting news in film, TV and theatre:

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Just before Christmas it was announced David Oyelowo and Lupita N’yongo look set to star together in new film Americanah. Now they’re in talks to work together again in new Disney movie Queen of Katwe which is about a young African chess prodigy, Oyelowo is expected to play the young girl’s mentor with Oscar-winner N’yongo appearing as her mother. Filming is expected to begin in the spring.

Jennifer Hudson is to make her Broadway debut in a revival of The Color Purple. Hudson will play Shug Avery in the production which will open later this year and has Oprah Winfrey among its producers.

Phylicia Rashad has joined the cast of new film, Creed. The film will see Sylvester Stallone return as Rocky Balboa as he becomes the coach of a young boxer played by Michael B Jordan. Rashad will play the young boxer’s mother. Filming is due to begin later this month.

John Travolta is returning to TV for the first time in over 30 years. He will appear in new drama American Crime Story: The People vs O J Simpson. The show has been created by Ryan Murphy – the man behind Glee and American Horror Story – and will look at the Simpson trial from the perspective of both the defence and prosecution, Cuba Gooding Jr. will star as Simpson with former Friends actor David Schwimmer playing Robert Kardashian, one of Simpson’s lawyers.

It looks like the new Ghostbusters movie is finally gearing up to start shooting this summer. The new film will focus on a group of female Ghostbusters with Melissa McCarthy in talks to play the lead character. Other actresses being mooted for roles in the film include Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone and Rebel Wilson. The film is expected to include cameos from Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson.

Snoop Dogg will play himself in an upcoming episode of new drama series Empire. The show debuted in the States this week and tied with How To Get Away With Murder as the top premiere of the new TV season. Snoop will appear in episode 11 which is expected to air in late February or early March.

Lena Dunham will appear in The Simpsons later in the year. She’ll appear in the premiere episode of the show’s 27th season as Candace, a pharmacist who helps Homer when he develops narcolepsy.

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The character was created especially for Dunham says The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean but Dunham is “not playing herself or Hannah from Girls. But it’s that funny, intellectual, slightly awkward, endearing tone that everybody’s familiar with, so we were just writing it with her voice in our heads.”

Sienna Miller will take over the role of Sally Bowles in the Broadway production of Cabaret next month. She follows Emma Stone who herself took over from Michelle Williams in the role. Miller who star in what’s currently expected to be the show’s final six weeks at Studio 54, running from February 17 to March 29.

Reese Witherspoon, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Sudeikis are to star in Alexander Payne’s new film. Downsizing is described as a social satire about a man who realises he could have a better life if he were to shrink himself. We’ll have a while to wait to see the film though, filming doesn’t begin until 2016 with the film expected to be released in late 2017.

Ted Danson, Patrick Wilson and Jean Smart have joined the cast of the second season of Fargo. They join Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons in the drama which is set in 1979 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Luverne, Minnesota. Production begins on January 19.

Michael Keaton’s Hollywood revival continues. He’s in talks to join Tom Hiddleston and JK Simmons in Kong: Skull Island. The film is set in the mysterious and dangerous home of the iconic ape as a team of explorers ventures deep inside the treacherous, primordial island.

Michael C Hall is the latest actor to join the cast of Disney’s remake of Pete’s Dragon. Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard and Wes Bentley have already been announced with newcomer Oakes Fegley playing Pete. No word yet on Hall’s role.

Is Bradley Cooper heading to the West End?

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Bradley Cooper is rumoured to be planning to tread the boards in London this spring in a production of The Elephant Man.

Cooper’s currently starring in a Broadway production of the play which has been getting stellar reviews and breaking box office records.

According to Deadline, producers want to bring the production to London form limited 12-week run beginning in April.

No deal’s been struck with a theatre yet but I imagine it would be an instant sell-out once everything’s confirmed.

It’s also great to see a Broadway play (and not a musical) make the transfer to London.

Shaun of the Dead heads to the stage

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A new stage show based on Shaun of the Dead will tour the South West later this year.

The show has already had an endorsement from Simon Pegg.

It was put together after Gloucestershire-based Almost Legal Productions secured the stage rights to the 2004 zombie rom-com.

The 110-minute show involves lots of audience participation, audience members are given a ‘goodie bag’ of props so they can take part and are encouraged to dress as zombies or other characters from the movie.

The tour begins in Stroud on April 10.

2015 preview: Theatre

2015 kicks off with the return of James McAvoy to the London stage.

He opens in The Ruling Class at the Trafalgar Studios on January 16. The play is about a paranoid schizophrenic with a Messiah complex who inherits his father’s Earldom.

So nothing like the Earl of Grantham in Downton then!

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In March, Emma Thompson returns to the London stage for the first time in 25 years as she co-stars with Bryn Terfel in Sweeney Todd at the ENO.

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It’s a really limited run – just 13 performances – and the show went down a storm when it was performed in New York in early 2014. I have tickets and I can not wait!

Another Hollywood star set to tread the London boards in 2015 is Damian Lewis who will lead the cast of a new production of David Mamet’s American Buffalo.

The play will run from April to June and it explores the fickle nature of honour among thieves.

No date yet, but I’m really excited about the return of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart to London.

They’re teaming up again for a staging of No Man’s Land. I saw it in New York in 2013 and recommend it!

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And finally the biggest thing in theatre in 2015 sold out within minutes of going on sale in 2014.

Benedict Cumberbatch will play the gloomy Dane in Hamlet at the Barbican in the autumn. I suspect it’s going to be huge.

McKellen and Stewart together again

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Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart are to appear together on the London stage next year.

They will star in a revival of No Man’s Land – which they performed in rep I’m New York last year (and I was lucky enough to see).

The pair last appeared together on stage in London when they collaborated on Waiting For Godot in 2009.

No news yet on where and when they play will be staged.

He wants to be a Producer…

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Ross Noble has joined the cast of The Producers which will be touring the UK next year.

He’ll be playing Franz Liebkind who writes Springtime for Hitler.

He joins Jason Manford, who’ll be playing Leo Bloom, and Louie Spence who’s been signed up to play Carmen Ghia.

No word yet on who’ll star as Max Bialystock.

The tour begins in Bromley on March 6 and wraps up in Dublin on July 11.