There are films that land a high-profile cast because they promise easy cash for little work (ahem, New Year’s Eve), and then there are pictures that attract major talent because they actually seem worthy of it. Wes Anderson‘s next project seems to fall in the latter category. The director has a pretty fantastic track record with A-list talent so far, so it’s no wonder he’s collecting an enviable roster for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

A couple of weeks back, Anderson squelched rumors that Johnny Depp had signed on to star, but with or without him, the film is continuing to rope in some interesting names. Angela Lansbury and (no surprise) Bill Murray were reported as part of the cast a not long ago, joining Owen Wilson and Jude Law. Now the latest addition is Ralph Fiennes, who’s a newcomer to Anderson’s genteel universe. More after the jump.

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Like most filmmakers, Wes Anderson has a few stars he likes to return to time and time again. But no one’s logged more time in Anderson’s genteel, impeccably art-directed universe than Bill Murray, who’s starred all but one (Bottle Rocket) of Anderson’s seven features to date. It should come as no surprise, then, that the pair are set to reunite once again, for Anderson’s upcoming The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Not that the film will be all Anderson regulars. In addition to his longtime pal Murray, the filmmaker has also just added Angela Lansbury to his lineup. The Grand Budapest Hotel marks the Murder, She Wrote legend’s first time featuring in one of Anderson’s movies. Lansbury and Murray join previously announced stars Owen Wilson, Johnny Depp, and Jude Law. More after the jump.

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When Wes Anderson was promoting Moonrise Kingdom, the writer/director told us his next film would “not be family friendly.” The same can’t be said for the cast. Twitchfilm is reporting Anderson has once again approached an impressive ensemble for the next project, including Johnny Depp, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe and Angela Lansbury. It’s a great mix of new blood and the usual Wes Anderson Players. Oh, and the Murder, She Wrote star. Read more below. Read More »

Breakout star Melissa McCarthy has signed up for ID Theft, which will team her with the ubiquitous but charming Jason Bateman. As suggested by the title, the comedy follows a man who becomes the target of identity theft. Bateman will play the victim, and McCarthy the thief. McCarthy’s role was originally written for a man, but Bateman (who’s also producing) pushed to cast McCarthy in the part after seeing her inspired, scene-stealing performance in Bridesmaids.

Shooting for ID Theft will begin April 2012, at the start of McCarthy’s hiatus from Mike & Molly. The script was originally written by Steve Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness), and is currently in rewrites with Craig Mazin (The Hangover Part II). [Deadline]

After the jump, new gigs for Natalie Portman and Parks & Recreation lovebirds Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally.

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20th Century Fox has released the first teaser trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of the Newbery-winning children’s book Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Directed by Mark Waters (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday, Ghost of Girlfriends Past), the the comedy stars Jim Carrey as a businessman whose “professional side starts to unravel after he inherits six penguins, and as he transforms his apartment into a winter wonderland.” The movie co-stars Carla Gugino, Ophelia Lovibond, Philip Baker Hall, Andrew Stewart-Jones, James Tupper, Clark Gregg, David Krumholtz and Angela Lansbury.

For me, Jim Carrey movies are begining to become a subgenre of wacky family comedies, and all of them feel the same. Mr. Popper’s Penguins seems no different. And yes, the trailer even includes a catchy pop song from pop culture past. Seems like the fulfilled the formula to the T. That said, I’ll probably still see the movie, if not in the theaters then on video, just for the penguins alone (even if they are partly CG). Hit the jump to watch the teaser trailer. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Century Fox has released the first official photos from the upcoming film adaptation of the Newbery-winning children’s book Mr. Popper’s Penguins in today’s edition of USA Today. Directed by Mark Waters (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday, Ghost of Girlfriends Past), the the comedy stars Jim Carrey as a businessman whose “professional side starts to unravel after he inherits six penguins, and as he transforms his apartment into a winter wonderland.” The movie co-stars Carla Gugino, Ophelia Lovibond, Philip Baker Hall, Andrew Stewart-Jones, James Tupper, Clark Gregg, David Krumholtz and Angela Lansbury. Hit the jump to see the photos.

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We just talked about the possibly-revived Neighborhood Watch; now here’s news on another sci-fi comedy that has been kicking around for a while. Used Guys was once meant to be directed by Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Meet the Parents) with Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller starring as men “in a future run by women, where cloned male slaves are traded like cars.” Fox shut down the film when the budget started to escalate and most of the talent moved on to other projects.

Now Danny McBride is attached to the role Jim Carrey would have played. Little Miss Sunshine directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton were attached to direct last year, and they remain a part of the project. A small mention in Variety says that Fox is looking for a ‘scaled-down’ production, compared to the expensive Jay Roach version. No word on other cast attachments for now, including whether Ben Stiller, who stuck around when others bailed, is still part of the film. [The Playlist]

After the break, Katherine Heigl backs out of her next picture, and Gerard Butler teams up with Antoine Fuqua. Read More »

In the race to make a hockey comedy the clear winner will be Goon, which stars Jay Baruchel and Seann William Scott. (Runner-up might be Kevin Smith’s Hit Somebody.) Goon is based on a script by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, which in turn was inspired by the book Goon:  The True Story of an Unlikely Journey Into Minor League Hockey. Now Eugene Levy is joining the cast as the film shoots in Winnipeg. We don’t know his role, but prepare to see a character that looks quite a lot like many other Eugene Levy characters. He’s good, but not a guy you hire when you’re trying to work out of the box.

The film is about ” a slacker and born brawler who’s invited to join a minor league hockey team. Persuaded by his best friend to accept the offer, he becomes the hero of the team — until the league’s reigning goon decides to take him down.” Liev Schreiber also stars. [Variety]

After the break, new talent for Mr. Popper’s Penguins and Violet & Daisy. Read More »

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