As Sacha Baron Cohen‘s new comedy The Dictator strolls towards theaters, I know some have been wondering if his plan to play late Queen singer Freddie Mercury remains intact. As it turns out, that plan has not changed, and now Stephen Frears (High Fidelity) is the frontrunner to direct the film that has the backing of remaining Queen members Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon. Read More »

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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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It’s an action/thriller casting break this evening, featuring the return of some classic actors to familiar old stomping grounds. So after the break you’ll find:

  • Peter Stormare is a bad guy in Arniold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand,
  • Anthony Hopkins will hunt a serial killer in Solace,
  • and Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme and John Travolta may be confirmed for The Expendables 2.

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I’d like to make this the ‘leading lady’ edition of Casting Bits, but I don’t think Caleb Landry Jones would like that very much. (Jason Segel would probably be OK with it.) Still, after the break you’ll find that two films have chosen their lead actresses, while Jones joins Jordan. Ahem. To wit:

  • Alexandra Maria Lara (above) takes the (female) lead in Ron Howard’s racing movie Rush,
  • Cody Horn will be the leading lady in Soderbergh’s Magic Mike,
  • Caleb Landry Jones, aka the First Class version of Banshee, joins Neil Jordan’s Byzantium,
  • and, as a final note, Jason Segel appears to be confirmed for Judd Apatow’s This is Forty.

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Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds featured three breakout performances by actors who were previously little-known to US audiences. Christoph Waltz and Michael Fassbender have gone on to very high-profile studio work, but Daniel Brühl, who played the Nazi sniper hero Frederick Zoller, has taken his time choosing Hollywood roles. (He has continued to work, doing so mostly in Europe.)

Now he is in talks for a film by a major Hollywood player — he’s looking at the role of Austrian Formula One champ Niki Lauda for Ron Howard‘s racing movie Rush. Read More »

The Avengers is currently in production, then it’s Snow White and the Huntsman and with Thor 2 on the horizon after that, Chris Hemsworth is going to race to fit in another film. Deadline is reporting that Hemsworth will play British Formula One driver James Hunt in Rush, the story of a rivalry between Hunt and another driver named Niki Lauda in the mid 1970s. The script is by Peter Morgan, an Oscar-nominee for his work on The Queen, and Ron Howard is looking likely to direct now that The Dark Tower has cooled off. Read more after the break. Read More »

I’ve been looking forward to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy since I first heard that Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson had been tapped to direct from Peter Morgan‘s (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) script. My excitement has only increased with each new casting announcement — Gary Oldman! Colin Firth! Tom Hardy! Mark Strong! Now a first teaser has dropped for the film, and though we don’t get to see a whole lot, what we do see looks frankly fantastic. See if you agree with me after the jump.

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Cross one possible project off of Paul Greengrass’ to-do list: Rush, the Formula One film about rival drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Or, more properly, move that project to the to-do list of Ron Howard, because it is now being shopped around with his name attached. Read More »

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