Casting Notes: Stephen Merchant And J.B. Smoove In Hall Pass; Thandie Newton, Jason Isaacs And David Tennant In Retreat; Mario Van Peebles Directs 50 Cent

The Farrelly Brothers start shooting their new film Hall Pass in Atlanta this week, and the cast just got an injection of additional talent. Stephen Merchant and J.B. Smoove will join Owen Wilson, Jenna Fischer and Jason Sudeikis in the film about two husbands (Wilson and Sudeikis) who are given a free pass to have extra-marital adventures for a week. Still don't get why the title 'Hall Pass' applies, but no matter; Merchant and Smoove are great additions. [THR]

After the break, three actors join the indie thriller Retreat, and 50 Cent gets serious.

Magnet is producing a psychological thriller called Retreat, which kicks off with an interesting trio of actors: Thandie Newton, Jason Isaacs and David Tennant have all joined the cast. Carl Tibbetts will make his feature directing debut with the film, which follows Newton and Isaacs as a couple who are "seeking to rebuild their relationship by taking time out on a remote island but their peace is shattered when they find a man in military uniform (Tennant) half-dead on their doorstep who tells them there is a lethal virus killing millions on the mainland."

Another viral outbreak thriller, or a movie about a guy conning a couple into thinking there's an outbreak? Sounds like the latter, especially since Screen Daily quotes producer Gary Sinyor saying the film reminded him of Dead Calm, with "a similar sexual tension but the battle of wits between the characters and plot twists are constantly surprising." David Tennant as the antagonist? Yes, please.  (Trivia: I was once a photo double for Jason Isaacs. Yeah, I know. Weird.)

Mario Van Peebles will direct Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson in Things Fall Apart, a film about "a star football running back (Jackson) who faces a personal tragedy as well as his own mortality while in his senior year in college." Van Peebles, Lynn Whitfield, Mike P and Steve Eastin will be in the film as well. This sounds like 50 Cent's ploy to grab serious cred; he's losing 65 pounds for the role. That's the same as acting, right? [Variety]