Whether the world really needs another Romeo and Juliet adaptation is up for debate, but Carlos Carlei‘s upcoming film boasts some intriguing talent, at least. The script comes from Gosford Park and Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes, while young up-and-comers like Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Ed Westwick, and Kodi Smit-McPhee are lined up to star.

The latest addition to the project is the always welcome Paul Giamatti, who’s set to play Friar Laurence. A confidant to both Romeo and Juliet, the character plays a key role in the star-crossed lovers’ fates. Shooting on the film, which is rather discouragingly being described as “Romeo and Juliet for the Twilight generation,” is slated to begin this month in Italy. [Variety]

After the jump, Dr. John Watson and the Earl of Grantham book big-screen gigs.

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Kimberly Peirce has been hired to direct a remake Stephen King‘s Carrie. Peirce made her name with the 1999 indie film Boys Don’t Cry which featured an Oscar-winning performance from Hilary Swank. Peirce was voted one of Hollywood’s upcoming best new talents, but the filmmaker has yet to deliver a worthy follow-up, helming the 2008 war film Stop-Loss and an episode of The L Word.
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Harrison Ford is really back. After quite a few years in which the actor took only occasional roles, we’ve seen him in Cowboys & Aliens this past summer, and he just signed to play famed baseball manager Branch Rickey in the Jackie Robinson biopic 42.

And now Ford is going to do another real sci-fi picture, as he has signed to play Colonel Hyram Graff in Gavin Hood‘s adaptation of the Orson Scott Card novel Ender’s Game, after being rumored as one of the actors likely to be offered the role Read More »

Writer/director Gavin Hood is having no problem landing a stellar cast for his adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel Ender’s Game. He’s already got Asa Butterfield, star of the Best Picture-winning Martin Scorsese film Hugo, playing the title character. Rumor has it he’s looking at Harrison Ford for a major role and now True Grit Oscar-nominee Hailee Steinfeld is in talks to play Petra Arkanian, one of Ender’s closest allies and one of the few girls at Battle School, the primary setting for the film. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Hailee Steinfeld, Dave Franco, and Deborah Ann Woll have been offered the leads in Rosaline, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet that’s told from the perspective of the girl Romeo ditches to be with Juliet. Michael Sucsy is directing from a script by by (500) Days of Summer writers Scott Neustader and Michael H. Weber, which in turn is an adaptation of Rebecca Serle‘s forthcoming debut novel When You Were Mine. The comedy will use modern-day dialogue in a 16th-century Verona setting.

Woll would play the title character, while Franco and Steinfeld could play Romeo and Juliet, respectively. If Steinfeld signs on it’ll be her second time playing the iconic character, as she’s also lined up to play Juliet for Carlo Carlei’s more straightforward adaptation. Much as I like Steinfeld, her casting here strikes me as a bit off since she’s eleven years younger than Woll and Franco — but maybe that’s part of the story? [Showblitz]

After the jump, Anne Hathaway becomes a producer, and Sawyer from Lost explores the world of competitive international breakdancing. Really.

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Briefly: I get the idea that yet another version of Romeo and Juliet isn’t something that people are wildly keen to see, but that isn’t putting the brakes on the film that Carlo Carlei (Flight of the Innocent) will direct based on a script by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park).

The main reason to be interested in the movie, for me at least, is that it is looking like it will be the sophomore feature from True Grit breakout star Hailee Steinfeld. She’s playing Juliet, and Holly Hunter, Ed Westwick and Kodi Smit-McPhee are also set for roles. Now Douglas Booth (Pillars of the Earth, the upcoming Great Expectations) will be her Romeo. Variety says he took the job over hundreds of other young applicants, but again, I’m not convinced that this one really has much heat. Still, the cast is shaping up well and there are few pieces of more proven material. If Carlo Carlei can make it feel like a fresh telling, no matter what style he adopts, it might surpass expectations.

One of my big hopes for True Grit was that the Coen Brothers might have found a genuine new talent in Hailee Steinfeld, who made her feature debut playing the young heroine Mattie Ross. Indeed, she gave a tremendous performance in the film, scoring an Oscar nomination and building a fanbase very interested in seeing her next move.

But that next move can be very difficult to chart, especially for someone relatively new to the business. Working for a talented newcomer (how about Cary Fukunaga’s Civil War heist movie?) or another established master (I hear Paul Thomas Anderson has a new film) would be ideal. Anything else could look like a backward step after True Grit. So what to do? Hopefully not star in the possible remake of Carrie. But that is exactly what a new report suggests could happen. Read More »

Great Hope Springs, the movie in which Meryl Streep plays one half of a married couple spending a week of marriage and sex therapy with a famous therapist (Steve Carell) has gone through a few possible male leads. Jeff Bridges was mentioned early on, and James Gandolfini looked like a possibility at one point. (Those were when Mike Nichols was going to direct, but now The Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel will make the film instead.)

Tommy Lee Jones was next in the casting rumor series, but now he definitively has the gig playing husband to Meryl Streep. That’s a great pairing, and while the director may not be my top choice, I’m still as interested in watching these two actors trade barbs as I was when the idea first came up.

The synopsis for Great Hope Springs is after the break, along with news of new gigs for Maggie Gyllenhaal and Holly Hunter. Read More »

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