M.C. Gainey, a.k.a. Mr. Friendly on Lost, has entered negotiations to star in Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained as what sounds like one of the nastiest characters in a film filled with vile characters. Gainey is up for the part of Big John Brittle, an overseer at the Carrucan Plantation who sets the plot in motion by raping Django’s wife Broomhilda and branding Django’s cheek with the letter ‘R’ (for “runaway”). Django (Jamie Foxx) goes on to team up with Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a German bounty hunter interested in the large reward on Big John, to free his wife from the clutches of villainous plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Gerald McRaney, Dennis Christopher, and Laura Cayouette are also signed on to star in the “Southern-fried spaghetti Western,” while Kurt Russell is in talks to replace Kevin Costner as Candie’s right-hand man Ace Woody. Production is expected to begin next month for a Christmas 2012 release. [Variety]

After the jump, RocknRolla star Toby Kebbell goes East, while Rose McGowan heads to Napa.

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Ellen Page is in final negotiations to star with Brit Marling and Alexander Skarsgard in The East, Zal Batmanglij‘s thriller about a mysterious eco-terrorism organization called The East. Marling, who co-wrote the script with Batmanglij, leads as an undercover agent who infiltrates the group but then finds herself developing feelings for the group’s leader (Skarsgard). Page will play Izzy, a member of The East and Skarsgard’s ex, who becomes jealous of relationship between Marling and Skarsgard. Page replaces Felicity Jones, who had to drop out of the project due to press commitments for Like Crazy.

The addition of the Oscar-nominated Page should add even more buzz to a film that’s already been getting plenty of it. Marling and Batmanglij broke out at this year’s Sundance with Sound of my Voice, and True Blood star Skarsgard has a handful of interesting projects in the works. Page’s next big-screen appearance will be in next year’s Woody Allen-directed Bop Decameron, alongside Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz, and Alec Baldwin.

The East is set to begin shooting in Nashville in October. [Variety]

After the jump, Anthony Mackie dreams up a new project for himself and Tom Everett Scott pairs up with Marisa Tomei.

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Stanley Tucci and Chris Cooper have become the latest additions to Robert Redford‘s The Company You Keep, a thriller based on the novel by Neil Gordon. The film boasts quite a strong cast already — Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Brit Marling, Shia LaBeouf, and Redford himself are all set to star as well. The script, by Lem Dobbs, centers around a former Weather Underground member (Redford) who’s forced to go on the run when a determined reporter (LaBeouf) exposes his identity.

Tucci will take the part of LaBeouf’s editor. Cooper plays the brother of Redford’s character, who cares for his niece (Marling, perhaps) when her father disappears. [The Playlist]

After the jump, two Red State stars get very different roles: Nicholas Braun signs on for the sci-fi action comedy Neighborhood Watch, while Kerry Bishé gets deadly serious in Argo.

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Briefly: You can probably call this the constant lineup of actresses that will test or be wishlisted for a great many lead female roles over the next year. Variety reports that Joeseph Kosinski is testing Jessica Chastain, Olga Kurylenko, Brit Marling, Noomi Rapace and Olivia Wilde for the lead female role opposite Tom Cruise in his latest film. The movie has been called Oblivion, and at once point looked like it would be renamed Horizons. When it moved to Universal from Disney, Oblivion was the title in play once more, but it looks like they’re going back to Horizons for the time being.

Regardless, the plot is the same:”In a future where the Earth’s surface has been irradiated beyond recognition, the remnants of humanity live above the clouds, safe from the brutal alien Scavengers that stalk the ruins. But when surface drone repairman Jak discovers a mysterious woman in a crash-landed pod, it sets off an unstoppable chain of events that will force him to question everything he knows.” Karl Gajdusek‘s rewrote William Monahan‘s script, which in turn was based on the original story hatched by Joseph Kosinski and Arvid Nelson.

From Generation Kill through to True Blood, Alexander Skarsgård‘s profile has been rising quickly. He was a fan favorite choice to play Thor, and though that didn’t happen — and Chris Hemsworth acquitted himself pretty well in the role, making his own career in the process — Skarsgård isn’t hurting for work. He’s already shot parts in Rod Lurie’s remake of Straw Dogs (maybe not the best choice, OK) and Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. He’s in Battleship, and has now landed a role in pedigreed indie The East. Read More »

We’ve got a diverse set of projects on which to report in this latest casting break: a political prestige project, a more routine-sounding thriller, and a dark comedy with quite a good pedigree. After the break, you’ll find:

  • Brit Marling seems to have settled on Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep as her next big role,
  • Gerard Butler will play a rogue former FBI agent in The Bricklayer,
  • and Natasha Lyonne joins Kristen Wiig’s passion project, Imogene. Read More »

Two actresses broke out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival in a big way: Elizabeth Olsen (thanks to Martha Marcy May Marlene and Silent House) and Brit Marling, who starred in and co-wrote Another Earth and The Sound of My Voice. Elizabeth Olsen has four films in various stages of completion (Red Lights; Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding; Liberal Arts; and Very Good Girls) while Brit Marling has shot a role in Arbitrage and flirted with Breaking the Girl.

And while the actress is looking to make The East, about “an FBI agent who infiltrates an ecoterrorist group,” which she co-wrote with The Sound of My Voice director Zal Batmanglij, there is a queue of big-time directors reportedly courting Marling for their upcoming projects. Read More »

‘Another Earth’ Trailer

This week, Fox Searchlight is all about Sundance breakout star Brit Marling. She wrote, produced and starred in two films that hit the fest this year: The Sound of My Voice and Another Earth, each of which has a sort of sci-fi component. Fox Searchlight announced yesterday that it had picked up The Sound of My Voice, in which Brit Marling plays a cult leader named Maggie who claims to be a time traveler from the year 2054, leading two documentary filmmakers to infiltrate her group to get the truth behind her story.

We don’t know when that will be released, but Fox Searchlight had also already picked up Another Earth, in which Brit Marling plays a young scientist who becomes entangled with an older composer just as a duplicate Earth is discovered. That film will be released on July 22, and the studio has released a full trailer, which you can see after the break. Read More »

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