Ben Affleck bailed on acting in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby in order to direct his third film, a picture called Argo. (Good choice!) The film is from a Chris Terrio script that follows a true-life story about a CIA effort to pull diplomats out of Tehran in 1979. The hook: they use a plan that has them posing as a Hollywood studio crew making a sci-fi film called Argo. (Much more background detail is here.)

The first piece of casting (other than Ben Affleck, who is taking a role) is now out: Alan Arkin will play Lester Siegel, the OSS agent turned film producer who is key to the plan. The role is described as “equal parts bookie and rabbi,” in which case Alan Arkin is perfect. But then, when is he not close to perfect? George Clooney and Grant Heslov are producing the film, and if that conjures up images of the tone of Men Who Stare At Goats — another partially true military/political tale — then you’re probably thinking along the right track. Only, let’s hope, better. [Variety]

After the break, World War Z and the G.I. Joe sequel get new cast additions.

After many months of stalling, the Marc Forster-directed adaptation of Max Brooks‘ zombie apocalyse novel World War Z is finally moving forward. Brad Pitt is attached to play the lead, and now James Badge Dale (The Pacific) is in the cast as “an American soldier who tries to alert authorities that the zombie threat is real.” Roles have also been reportedly set for Mireille Enos and Anthony Mackie. The film should start shooting soon, so we’ll have a lot more casting in the coming weeks. [Variety]

Finally, Elodie Yung is in talks for a role in the G.I. Joe sequel that John Chu will soon direct for Paramount. We know the actress is a fighter thanks to District 13: Ultimatum; she’s also got a role in David Fincher’s version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. (She’s Lisbeth Salander’s girlfriend, seen in a couple scenes.)

She’ll play Jinx, who, while vacationing in Japan, “discovered her familial ties to a ninja clan known as the Arashikage, and was officially initiated into the clan. She was then recruited by Snake-Eyes, a fellow ninja and member of the G.I. Joe Team.” She’s also got the same name as Halle Berry’s James Bond character, but that’s probably not important. She would join a returning Channing Tatum as Duke, Lee Byung-hun as Storm Shadow and Ray Park as Snake Eyes, and possibly new recruit The Rock as Roadblock. [THR]

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