Casting roundup: Maria Bello joins Prisoners, Kit Harington takes on Pompeii, and Chris Hemsworth for spy thriller Candy Store

Maria Bello in black sweater against brick

First off we have PRISONERS, a spin on the TAKEN formula that relegates the action to a small American town and transforms the lead from a man with special skills to a carpenter desperate for answers.  I expect that hacksaw will be put to some good use in the course of the film.  Already set to star Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, and Viola Davis, the revenge flick has now added the very lovely and very talented Maria Bello (A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, SECRET WINDOW) to its roster.  She'll play the wife of "a small town carpenter, Jackman’s Keller, who tries to find his kidnapped daughter and her best friend himself after the police can’t. Gyllenhaal is the detective assigned to the case – a cop who doesn’t like civilians getting involved in police work." 

Directed by Denis Villeneuve (INCENDIES), PRISONERS is set to start shooting sometime early next year with an eye towards making a release date of September 20th, 2013. (via Deadline Hollywood)

Kit Harington in Game of Thrones

Next up we have POMPEII, Paul W.S. Anderson's period epic about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.  Yes, as in the Paul W.S. Anderson of RESIDENT EVIL fame. Currently in talks for the lead role is Kit Harington (SILENT HILL REVELATION, "Game of Thrones"), which would mean that if he were cast he would play the part of "Milo, the slave of a shipping tycoon who dreams of the day he can buy his freedom and marry his master's daughter. What Milo doesn't know is that she's already been promised to a corrupt Roman senator, while he's been sold to another owner in Naples. Just when things can't get any worse, Mt. Vesuvius erupts, prompting Milo to head back to Pompeii to rescue his love and his best friend, a gladiator who's trapped in the city's coliseum." And so the race is on to escape before they become nothing more than an ashen reminder that no matter how much we f**k with nature, nature can always turn around and f**k us right back.

There's no word on when POMPEII hopes to start shooting or what part Anderson intends to give Milla Jovovich, but in the meantime you can catch Harington with Jeff Bridges in the supernatural thriller SEVENTH SON on February 15th, 2013, and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 on June 20th, 2014. (via Variety)

Chris Hemsworth in black suit against rough background

And finally we have CANDY STORE, the spy thriller written and directed by Stephen Gaghan (TRAFFIC, SYRIANA) that has already attracted the attention of actors such as Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt, and Christoph Waltz.  But it is Chris Hemsworth who is seemingly the closest to actually securing a starring role, though we don't know exactly what part he would play in the tale of an ”elite, highly trained deep-cover operative who loses everything [and ultimately disappears] into Brooklyn, where he must start again. He washes up as a beat cop, only to discover the global organization he was dedicated to fighting is also operating in his new backyard.”  We don't have a start or shoot date yet, but considering the high profile of the project I expect it shouldn't be much longer before we do.

Hemsworth is also currently in talks, alongside his brother Liam, to join a biopic of Steve McQueen.  Now this isn't the same project being bandied about by Jeremy Renner - Hemsworth's version would be called TRIUMPH AKA 40 SUMMERS AGO, and would show us the story of McQueen “and his relationship to his stunt double, Bud Ekins."  The script is currently being written, and Chris Hemsworth is swiftly becoming a costly commodity these days, so it'll definitely be interesting to see how things shake out for the Aussie actor.

You can of course catch Hemsworth the Elder in RED DAWN on November 21st. (via The Film Stage)

Steve McQueen and Bud Ekins 1

Steve McQueen and Bud Ekins 2

Extra Tidbit: So which of these projects has you the most excited? And why hasn't anyone talked to Daniel Craig about starring in a Steve McQueen biopic?
Source: Various



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