Casting Catch-Up: Simon Pegg, James D’Arcy, Idris Elba, & More!

(Written for BritScene)

With some more great casting stories this week, if you’re a fan of the British psychological crime drama television series Luther then you’re definitely in for a treat. With some brilliant sounding TV pilots coming up and a few interesting films in the works, carry on reading to find out the ongoings of Simon Pegg, James D’Arcy, Idris Elba, Minnie Driver, Ruth Bradley, Neil Cross and Ewan Bremner. You won’t be disappointed.

First up, British actress Ruth Bradley has joined the cast of ABC’s Beauty and the Beast pilot this week, as she will play the ‘beauty’ figure Princess Grace opposite her on screen love interest, the ‘beastly’ bodyguard Shiro, who will be played by singer-turned-actor Darius Campbell. Jon Steinberg (Human Target) has scripted the pilot and will also be executive producer alongside Gary Fleder (Life Unexpected). Bradley previously starred in UK sci-fi drama Primeval and appeared opposite Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones) and Robert Sheehan (Misfits) in Irish drama Love/Hate, and will next be seen in ITV1’s historic TV drama Titanic which is set to be released this April.

Director Sacha Gervasi has attached James D’Arcy to his latest project, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, where he will play the character of Anthony Perkins alongside Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh. The film follows Hitchcock and his struggles during the filmmaking of the horror classic and, penned by John McLaughlin, also stars Anthony Hopkins as the iconic director, while Helen Mirren will play his wife, Alma. D’Arcy’s role is only a small one in the film, especially in comparison to his co-stars, but it is considered a major part given how important his character is to the Psycho legacy.

Hot Fuzz actor Simon Pegg, last seen in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol has joined the voice cast of Star Wars: The Clone Wars as the bounty hunter Dengar who first featured in The Empire Strikes Back. Dengar went on to become a cult figure in the Star Wars universe, starting out as one of the bounty hunters recruited by Darth Vader in the 1980 film to find the Millennium Falcon. Pegg’s role as Dengar aired last week on the Cartoon Network and you can watch a promo of his voice in the episode ‘Bounty’ here. Pegg will next be seen reprising his role as Scotty in Star Trek 2, which began filming last month.

One that we know you will enjoy hearing, star of the psychological crime series Luther, Idris Elba, has signed to star in No Good Deed alongside Taraji P. Henson. With a script written by Aimee Lagos (96 Minutes), the film follow a high concept kidnapping plot where a former District Attorney invites a stranger having car trouble into her home, but no doubt it won’t go unpunished. The film will also be directed by Luther director Sam Miller who will be making his return after a decade away from the directorial chair. Aiming for a Spring start, hopefully this will be a solid partnership for the makings of a great film. It’s unclear what role Elba will play yet, but he will also be executive producing the film as well.

Another Luther-related bit of news, creator of the series Neil Cross has been hired to write The Day of the Triffids, an adaptation of the 1951 English sci-fi horror novel by John Wyndam. The novel, which was first adapted into a film in 1962 film also titled The Day of the Triffids, is set in the aftermath of a comet shower that blinds most of the world’s population. Those with sight must battle alien plants, known as Triffids, bent on destroying mankind. As well as creating Luther, Cross also wrote Mama, a Guillermo del Toro-produced horror movie that stars Jessica Chastain, and recently polished up del Toro’s Pacific Rim.

Next, English actress and singer-songwriter Minnie Driver is set to star opposite Andrea Anders in Kari Lizer’s NBC comedy pilot, Lady Friends. Produced by The Warner Bros., the TV project follows two life-long female friends who are living very different lives but couldn’t live without each other. Nicole (Anders) has everything going for her, whilst her best friend, Jen (Driver), has parents who have no faith in her and terrible instincts that led her to a 17-day marriage to a guy who dumped her which concluded in her gaining 15 pounds on the cabbage soup diet. The producers cast Anders in the first lead role at the beginning of February, which is when they first identified their interest in Driver for the role of Jen. At the time, however, Driver was under a talent deal at ABC, but it seems that some deal has now been struck. Driver has now been confirmed to be starring in the Lady Friends series, and we will next see her in the musical indie drama Hunky Dory, which is hoping to find a US distributor soon.

And finally, Ewan Bremner has joined the cast of Bong Joon-ho‘s post-apocalyptic thriller Snow Piercer, joining the impressive ensemble that already includes the brilliant British actors Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, and the legendary John Hurt. Inspired by a train-set thriller by the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, the film marks the English-language debut for South Korean director Joon-ho, who is known for writing and directing the chilling monster tale The Host and the haunting crime-drama Mother. The film follows a train called Snow Piercer which makes its way through an enveloping Ice Age while the contentious survivors on board fall into an explosive class warfare. Best-known for playing the sweet but simple Spud in Trainspotting, Bremner will also star alongside Captain America actor Chris Evans, Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, and South Korean movie star Kang-ho Song, as Bremner plays a father who joins forces with Evans’ character to save his kidnapped son. Production on the film is set to begin over the next few weeks.

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