Briefly: Add one more to the increasingly intriguing cast of Alex Kurtzman‘s directorial debut Welcome to People. Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks lead the cast in a story where “a young man (Pine) is directed by his father’s will to deliver $150,000 to a sister (Banks) he didn’t know he had.” That’s actually more detail than we’d previously known, and it still isn’t a lot. Now actor/writer/director Mark Duplass will play a neighbor who is interested in Elizabeth Banks’ character. Olivia Wilde and Michelle Pfeiffer are in the cast as well.

Alex Kurtzman has made a career out of big budget, high-concept stuff so far, but when I spoke to his co-writer Roberto Orci on the set of Cowboys & Aliens (which they wrote and produced) Mr. Orci said they were looking to do something a bit different when one or the other segued into directing. This picture was no doubt already in the works, but I’m glad to see the pair (who both wrote this script along with Jody Lambert) making good on their intent to develop their own cinematic vocabulary. [Variety]

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Briefly: I’m really starting to look forward to Welcome to People, the film that will be both the directorial debut for Alex Kurtzman, and possibly a turning point in the screenwriting career of he and his partner Roberto Orci. (The two have previously written Star Trek, Transformers, Cowboys & Aliens, etc. They wrote this script with Jody Lambert.) The plot centers on a character played by Chris Pine, who “returns home after his estranged father’s sudden death, only to uncover a devastating family secret, which sends him on an unexpected journey of self-discovery.” Sounds like a more drama-oriented change from the high-concept stuff the guys have been known for so far.

The cast of the film includes Elizabeth Banks and Olivia Wilde. Now Michelle Pfeiffer has signed on to play the mother of Chris Pine’s character. It’s a big part, and it’s good to see the actress, making one of her rare appearances these days, in a bit that might give her a chance to really play. The film begins shooting next week. [Deadline]

Olivia Wilde Cast in ‘Welcome to People’

Briefly: Olivia Wilde was among the few high points of Tron Legacy, which has only cemented her status as a name to watch. She’s got appearances coming up in the satire Butter,  Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens, Andrew Niccol’s Now and body-switching comedy The Change-Up. She was also just seen in a small part in The Next Three Days.

Now she’s joined Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks in the cast of Welcome to People, which will be the directorial debut of Cowboys & Aliens co-writer and producer Alex Kurtzman. (He also co-wrote the script, with constant collaborator Roberto Orci and Jody Lambert.) The film is about a young businessman (Pine) who “returns home after his estranged father’s sudden death, only to uncover a devastating family secret, which sends him on an unexpected journey of self-discovery.” Sounds like quite a change from most of the films and TV that Alex Kurtzman has written and produced to date (Star Trek, Transformers, Alias) and I’m very curious to see what happens when he’s in the director’s chair. [THR]

Dreamworks is searching for 11-13 years old boy to play the lead role of Josh in screenwriter Alex Kurtzman‘s (Transformers, Star Trek) directorial debut Welcome To People, which stars Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks. They have released an open casting call notice in their search to fill the role. Read the press release after the jump.

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Elizabeth Banks has reportedly beat out several other high profile actresses for the female lead role in Welcome To People, the directorial debut of Star Trek and Transformers co-writer Alex Kurtzman. She’ll co-star with Chris Pine in the family drama co-written by Kurzman, Roberto Orci and Jody Lambert. Steven Spielberg is set to produce. Read more about the film, and the actresses who were circling the role, after the jump. Read More »

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Amy Adams is justifiably in demand. She’s got The Fighter coming up (trailer here) in which she’ll appear opposite Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, and is shooting and/or prepping parts in On the Road and the Janis Joplin biopic Get it While You Can. And now three more pictures are vying for her attention. Chief among them is Jason Segel‘s new Untitled Muppet Movie. Read More »

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Alex Kurtzman has worked as a writer and producer on numerous projects that Steven Spielberg has helped develop (the Transformers films, Eagle Eye, Cowboys & Aliens), but with Welcome to People, Spielberg will be producing Kurtzman’s first directorial effort. The film also marks Kurtzman’s first attempt to make a name for himself outside of the action/sci-fi genre fare he’s so accustomed to. But if all that’s not enough to pique your interest, how about the potential casting of Chris Pine in the lead role? Read More »

Alex Kurtzman

Steven Spielberg has been working with screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci for a few years now. Introduced through Michael Bay with the DreamWorks produced 2005 film The Island, the screenwriting duo went on to pen the Spielberg-produced Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and were put in charge (ie produced) of DJ Caruso’s Eagle Eye which was based on a Spielberg idea. They’ve been developing projects for Spielberg and preaching the tone of Steven’s old Amblin films. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Kurtzman and Orci would be developing a television series based on Locke & Key. It seemed inevitable that one of the scribes would be interested in moving beyond writing and producing and actually direct his own film. Now is that time.

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