An up and comer, a recognizable character actor and a seasoned veteran have all signed on to very different projects. The up and comer, Kodi Smit-McPhee, best known for his awesome work in The Road and Let Me In, is reportedly circling the role of Benvolio in Carlo Carlei‘s new film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet along side Haliee Steinfeld, Holly Hunter and Ed Westwick. Michael Pena, the recognizable character actor, has joined the already impressive cast of Gangster Squad, Ruben Fleischer‘s upcoming true-life gangster film starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin. Then the seasoned veteran, Corbin Bernsen joins the female-centric gambling story Lay the Favorite starring Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn and Rebecca Hall directed by Stephen Frears. Read about each film, and role, after the break. Read More »

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Chris Klein has become the latest actor to sign on for American Reunion, the upcoming American Pie sequel that sees the gang returning to their hometown for their ten-year high school reunion. Reunion has already signed Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy and Alyson Hannigan; other members of the original cast, including Thomas Ian Nichols, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari and Jennifer Coolidge are still negotiating their roles.

Klein, as you may recall, played Oz, a lacrosse player who falls for Suvari’s Heather in the first movie. In Reunion, Oz has become a big shot with a Malibu mansion and a girlfriend who seems to be a gold-digger. [MovieWeb]

After the jump, new projects for Marilyn Manson and Pacey Witter Joshua Jackson. Is this the most ’90s installment of Casting Bits ever?

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Before poker became a part of my daily life, I’d always been infatuated with gambling movies. The first hour of Casino remains my favorite, I never believed it when Mel Gibson pulled a one outter at the end of Maverick, and The Sting fools me every time. Even newer, lesser movies like 21 or Lucky You pulled me into the theater and, of course, Rounders is like gospel. So, Lay the Favorite, based on the novel by Beth Raymer, sounds right up my alley. The story of a young Ohio girl who becomes professionally involved with underground sports betting will be, as had been previously announced, a reteaming of High Fidelity screenwriter D.V. DeVincentis and director Stephen Frears and now, it seems Rebecca Hall and Bruce Willis are close to landing as their leads. Read more after the break. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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Screen Epiphanies: Filmmakers on the Films that Inspired Them

I’ve always loved reading and hearing what great filmmakers think of other great films and directors. You may have noticed that we ask some directors about their favorite films, from time to time, and I’ve even featured other websites and books that delve into this subject on the site from time to time.

Geoffrey Macnab and the British Film Institute have put together a book titled Screen Epiphanies: Filmmakers on the Films that Inspired Them collecting the stories of thirty-five leading international filmmakers focusing on “the film moments that stayed with them long after they left the movie theater” which inspired them to pursue a career in the movie industry.

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