Scarlett Johansson may seem like an unlikely lead for a Judd Apatow film, but in this context her casting actually makes a lot of sense. Johansson has signed on to star in Can a Song Save Your Life?, which will be written and directed by John Carney (Once) and produced by Apatow. The film follows “a washed-up A&R man who forms a passionate bond with a young singer-songwriter (Johansson) from out of town.”

The project calls for Johansson to sing, which shouldn’t be a problem for the actress. Johansson is in fact a professional singer, having released an album of Tom Waits covers titled Anywhere I Lay My Head back in 2008 and a collaboration with Pete Yorn called Break Up in 2009. Though the male lead has yet to be cast, Mark Ruffalo and Jim Carrey have been rumored as possibilities. (FWIW, I vote Ruffalo.) Shooting on the film will begin in New York City next year. [The Playlist]

After the jump, new gigs for the stars of Twilight, Wizards of Waverly Place, and the late-’90s/early-’00s teen alien show Roswell. Gosh, remember that?

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We had a couple of days where mid-level casting for a lot of projects was going crazy. Maybe there was something in the air; maybe casting directors and agents just all got together and had a field day. It’s been a bit slower today, but still there are a couple of items to catch up on. After the break, you’ll find info on how:

  • Robin Williams appears to be cast in Gently Down the Stream, with Robert De Niro and Susan Sarandon.
  • Joel David Moore (Avatar) will be in Oliver Stone’s Savages.
  • and Katie Cassidy takes the lead in Freaky Deaky. Read More »

From Weeds to weed — Demian Bichir is making the move into Oliver Stone‘s world. The director is making Savages, based on the book by Don Winslow. He already has quite the cast lined up: Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson play up and coming pot dealers coerced into working for a drug cartel when their girlfriend O (Blake Lively) is kidnapped. John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Emile Hirsch, Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro are all in the cast, and now Demian Bichir has signed on, too. Read More »

Oliver Stone is quickly locking down the cast for Savages, the adaptation of Don Winslow‘s novel about two pot dealers (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) whose mutual girlfriend (Blake Lively) is kidnapped by a drug cartel (Salma Hayek and Benicio del Toro) in an effort to coerce the guys into bowing to the cartel’s will. John Travolta and Uma Thurman also signed on, with that casting announced just hours ago.

Now Emile Hirsch, the great young(ish) actor who seems to do a spate of films then drop off the radar for a while, is in the film playing a role that is yet to be announced. That makes quite a cast so far — while it is difficult to get excited about John Travolta of late, the collection of people is a pretty serious lineup. Is this going to be the movie where Oliver Stone really roars back to life? [Variety]

After the break, while Ralph Fiennes remains a possible addition to the next James Bond film, he’s also in line for a part in Mike Newell’s new version of Great Expectations. Read More »

Jennifer Lawrence was closing in on a starring role in Oliver Stone‘s Savages — an adaptation of Don Winslow‘s novel of the same name, in which the polyamorous gal playmate of two pot-dealing buddies is kidnapped and held ransom by a drug cartel — but that fell apart when she got swept off to compete in The Hunger Games. Many names were in the mix to take over the role, but Blake Lively became the frontrunner. Now she’s confirmed for the film, and John Travolta and Uma Thurman are joining her for the ride. Learn more about the parts they’ll be playing after the break. Read More »

The last couple of times we reported on American Reunion, the newest installment in the American Pie franchise, we couldn’t help noticing that Alyson Hannigan‘s name was oddly absent from reports of casting negotiations. Well, fret no more: Deadline reports that Hannigan has officially signed on to reprise her role as Michelle for Reunion. As previously revealed, American Reunion will involve most of the original gang returning for their ten-year high school reunion. Michelle and Jim in particular will see their marriage tested when their next-door neighbor develops a crush on Jim.

After the jump, Blake Lively gets closer to a lead role in Savages, and Tom Wilkinson joins The Samaritan.

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Oliver Stone‘s adaptation of the novel Savages, in which two pot-dealing friends are roped into working for the drug cartel that kidnaps their young female companion, is becoming a hot property. The combination of a young cast, a long-established major director and lively material tends to do that. Multiple studios were in contention for distribution rights, and Universal has taken the brass ring.

Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch are the leads; Benicio Del Toro and Salma Hayek are looking like the two key cartel characters, and multiple actresses are reading for the role of the female friend. Blake Lively, Abbie Cornish & Teresa Palmer are all said to be possible names, though Deadline also says Oliver Stone might go with a ‘discovery.’ Oliver Stone, Shane Salerno and novel author Don Winslow are working on the script now.

After the break,  a total change of gears: a Universal film based on the musical In the Heights is no longer happening, for the moment. Read More »

Oliver Stone is assembling Savages, which adapts the book of the same name by Don Winslow and has Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch set to star as best friends and pot growers who get roped into working for a drug cartel when the bad guys kidnap their friend/girlfriend.

Salma Hayek is a possible pick to be the matriarch of the drug cartel, and Benicio Del Toro is now signing on to play the cartel’s enforcer, who sets the kidnapping, and therefore the plot, in motion. Some script work is being done now by Oliver Stone, Don Winslow and Shane Salerno, and there are ongoing discussions with a couple of studios to pick up the project — Universal seems like the likely home right now. [Deadline]

After the break, new gigs for Emma Robers, Kenan Thompson and the new Jason Voorhees, Derek Mears. Read More »

A year ago Oliver Stone signed up to direct an adaptation of the Don Winslow novel Savages, and a month ago Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone, X-Men: First Class, The Hunger Games) was set for a key role.

But some things have changed. While Oliver Stone is still making the movie, Jennifer Lawrence has dropped out thanks to her schedule for The Hunger Games. While her role has to be recast, Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) is now in talks to play one of the two main roles, and Salma Hayek is being eyed for another. Read More »