With Saoirse Ronan already locked in for Andrew Niccol‘s The Host, the search is on for two handsome young lads to play the male leads. Jake Abel has just been selected for the part of Ian, beating out several competitors including Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines), Thomas McDonnell (Prom), and Augustus Prew (Charlie St. Cloud). Abel, who’s still negotiating his deal, has worked with Ronan once previously on Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones. More recently, he’s also starred in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and I Am Number Four.

Based on a novel by Stephenie Meyer, The Host revolves around a woman named Melanie (Ronan) whose body is possessed by an alien parasite named Wanderer. Ian is a human who initially attacks Wanderer, but eventually falls in love with her. The other major mail character, that of Melanie’s boyfriend Jared, is still being cast; Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games), Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones), Jai Courtney (One Shot), and Max Irons (Red Riding Hood) are among the contenders for that part. [Deadline]

After the jump, Taken 2 adds another newcomer and Rose McGowan gets some company in Napa.

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My Week with Marilyn star Eddie Redmayne will join Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway in Tom Hooper‘s prestige musical Les Miserables. Based on the hit Broadway show and Victor Hugo‘s classic novel of the same title, the film follows an ex-con named Valjean (Jackman) in 19th century France as he seeks to redeem himself. Redmayne will play Marius, who falls in love with Cosette, daughter of Fantine (Hathaway) and eventual charge of Valjean.

Les Miserables is already being touted as a likely Oscar contender, with a release date of December 7, 2012. Redmayne isn’t exactly a household name yet, but has marked himself as a talent to watch in projects like The Good Shepherd, My Week with Marilyn, and Hick. [Deadline]

After the jump, Rashida Jones and the guy who played Ernest Hemingway in Midnight in Paris befriend Samantha Morton, while David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook picks up a Boardwalk Empire star.

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The nominal news here is that Rade Sherbedgia will play the bad guy in Taken 2, which brings Liam Neeson and Maggie Grace back to the action fold under the brand name that made Fox a surprisingly large amount of money in 2009.

But the real news is that, along with that casting announcement, trades have revealed the plot of the film. It isn’t quite what I expected. According to one account, Taken 2 sounds like a full reversal of the original film. I suspect there’s some exaggeration there, but it still isn’t sounding great. Read the details below and see if you agree. Read More »

Olivia Wilde has landed the coveted role of ’70s supermodel Suzy Miller in Rush, Ron Howard‘s Peter Morgan-scripted drama about the real-life rivalry between British Formula One driver James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian racer Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). Miller married the womanizing Hunt, but then fell in love with Hunt’s friend Richard Burton. Burton agreed to pay the $1 million divorce settlement that Hunt owned Miller, and then married Miller.

Howard is reportedly eyeing Russell Crowe to play the supporting role of Burton, but it doesn’t sound like negotiations are too far along at this time. Rush began preliminary shooting last month, but real principal photography is starting soon. [Deadline]

After the jump, Billy Crudup gets to show off his comedic chops while Helen Hunt, Maggie Grace, and Aaron Paul get to fight breast cancer.

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‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1′ Trailer

Oh, romance! Wait, no, it’s just the human-on-sparkle-vampire love story Twilight, which will come one step closer to ending on November 18 when The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 is released. See the new trailer, in which Bella and Edward’s marriage leads to a night of serious sex and the worst pregnancy since Rosemary’s Baby, after the break. Read More »

As we’ve said in several pieces in the past, Rian Johnson‘s third film Looper (which follows Brick and The Brothers Bloom) is one of our most anticipated pictures in the next year or so. FilmDistrict and Tri-Star are releasing the film, and we’d hoped to see it sometime early next year. Sadly, we’re going to have to wait a bit longer than that. Tri-Star has set a date for the film: September 28, 2012. Read More »

New Photos: ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn’

Let’s take a rare dip into the Twilight pool. The first half of the two-part series climax, Breaking Dawn, is set to be released on November 18, and Summit is starting the promo machine. A set of new photos has been released for the film, along with a big cover story in Entertainment Weekly that doesn’t tell us too much, but promises some punch to the weird, bloody end of the story. Read More »

Maggie Grace Confirmed for ‘Taken 2′

Briefly: The big drama surrounding Taken 2 was whether or not Liam Neeson would, in fact, return to be a badass former CIA agent whose daughter was once kidnapped. No one has really voiced much thought about the return of Maggie Grace, who played the object of Taken‘s title in the first place. But Deadline now confirms that Ms. Grace has finalized a deal to reprise her role as the daughter of Liam Neeson’s character. How does she fit into the story? Please just let us find out that she is kidnapped again; I want an entire series of these films in which Maggie Grace is kidnapped, leading to a My Dinner With Andre-style final sequel/coda where her character and Jack Bauer’s daughter sit down to vent and angrily tear apart lobsters at a fancy restaurant for 90 minutes.

Olivier Megaton, who has a name that is as badass as Liam Neeson’s character, will direct this sequel. He has already worked with producer Luc Besson more than once, most recently when he directed The Transporter 3. (Remember, too, that Maggie Grace is also in the ‘Taken in space’ movie Lockout, with Guy Pearce.)

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