(Written for BritScene)
This week’s casting news begins with a bit of a Harry Potter special. Whilst we’ve seen much from Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson since the end of filming for the Harry Potter franchise, it’s now time for Tom Felton and Rupert Grint to return to the big screen. Other news includes that of Keira Knightley, Colin Farrell, Clive Owen, Louise Lombard, Simon Merrells and Naomie Harris, so keep reading to see who will be Winnie Mandela to Idris Elba‘s Nelson, Marcus Crassus in Starz Original’s Spartacus series, and one of the lead roles in Warner Bros. Arthur and Lancelot.
Best known for his role as Draco Malfoy in the beloved Harry Potter franchise, Tom Felton has this week joined the cast of Tony Kaye‘s sexual thriller, Attachment. Set to star opposite Sharon Stone, the story will center on a married woman who has a one night stand with a student, but things get out of hand when he returns, dates her daughter and begins stalking her. Written by actor Christopher Denham (Home Movie), it looks as if the film will be led by Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood) and Brit Sam Clafin (Snow White and the Huntsman), but we’re unsure where Felton will fit into the cast at the minute. Production for the film will start in April, and we can next see Felton in The Apparition in August and Fangs of War 3D, which is also set to be released sometime this year. British director Tony Kaye‘s latest drama Detachment is now on VOD as well, and will roll into theaters in New York later this week on 16th March and in Los Angeles on 23rd March.
Felton’s Hogwarts classmate Rupert Grint has also bagged himself a role, his first since the Harry Potter films, this time alongside Chloe Moretz (Dark Shadows), Aaron Eckhart (The Rum Diary), and Vera Farmiga (Safe House) in Randy Miller‘s indie music biopic, The Drummer. Focusing on the last six years life of Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson (played by Eckhart), Grint has been cast as Stan Shapiro, “a mail room intern at the talent agency William Morris, who befriended Wilson during the last few years of the musician’s life.” Farmiga will play Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter Christine McVie, who sparked a passionate and tumultuous relationship before Wilson’s death in 1983, and Moretz will play Wilson’s daughter Jennifer. Dennis’ real-life daughter Jennifer Wilson is co-producing the film along with her half-brother Carl, and filming is set to begin on 5th June.
British actress Keira Knightley is in early talks to star in Lasse Hallström‘s adaptation of Nicholas Sparks‘ novel Safe Haven. Knightley is set to play a young woman with a dark past who arrives in a small North Carolina town, and reluctantly begins a relationship with a widowed store owner and his two children. Safe Haven is Hallström’s second time working from a Sparks novel, previously directing 2010′s Dear John, whilst he is currently finishing up work on his Swedish crime thriller The Hypnotist. Plans to start filming Safe Haven are to begin in May with a release date set for Valentine’s Day 2013, and we can next see Knightley in the apocalyptic romantic comedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, set to be released on 22nd June, and this fall in Joe Wright’s adaptation of Anna Karenina.
Irish actor Colin Farrell is likely to take one of the main roles in Warner Bros. Arthur and Lancelot. Announced for development last year and subsequently put on hold, it looks as if the project is back on track at the studio. The film, which re-adapts the classic Arthurian legend, will be written and directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) but we again do not have news on what role he will be cast in whilst neither of the film’s original stars, Joel Kinnaman and Kit Harington, appear to be still attached. Farrell, who most recently starred in horror-comedy Fright Night, can be seen later this year in Total Recall and Seven Psychopaths.
British actress Louise Lombard, known mainly for her TV roles, more recently in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, has joined Fox’s untitled drama pilot. Written by Karyn Usher and to be directed by Brett Ratner, the project centers on Jane Forsythe (Saxon Sharbino), an orphaned 14-year-old daughter of a CIA operative who encounters mysterious rogue agent Kevin Lear (Julian McMahon) who serves as her surrogate father and professional mentor in the spy world. Lombard is set to play Kevin’s former lover Wendy, a CIA operative who offers to help him raise a teen girl.
Joining season three of Starz Original series, Spartacus, is Essex boy Simon Merrells, star of TV’s Family Affairs. Last seen on the big screen alongside Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Anthony Hopkins in the thriller, The Wolfman, Merells will play the role of Marcus Crassus, joining Australian actors Liam McIntyre (TV’s Neighbours) as the title role of Spartacus, and Todd Lasance (TV’s Home and Away) as Julius Caesar. Merrells character description reads, “The richest man in the Roman Republic. Envied and despised by the highborn among the senate, he craves the power and respect that defeating Spartacus and his rebel army would bring.” Executive produced by Rob Tapert (The Grudge), Steven S. DeKnight (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Sam Raimi (Spider-Man), and Joshua Donen (The Quick and the Dead), this same team also produced the first three installments of the series: season one – Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the prequel – Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, and season two – Spartacus: Vengeance.
And finally, Naomie Harris is in talks to play the role of Winnie Mandela opposite Idris Elba‘s iconic prisoner-turned-world figure Nelson Mandela in the biopic, Long Walk To Freedom. William Nicholson (Gladiator) has written the script for the film, which will be shot across South Africa and will cover a large span of Mandela’s life, including scenes on Robben Island where Mandela spent nearly 20 of his 27 years in prison. Elba has not yet been 100% confirmed for the role, though he has talked up the part in recent interviews, and the film does not yet have a director attached, although Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl), who worked with Harris on 2010’s The First Grader, is currently in talks to direct. Before we get any real confirmations, we can next see Harris play the character of Eve in the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, which is set to be released on 9th November.
And finally, British actor Clive Owen (Intruders) is set to lead Guillaume Canet‘s crime thriller Blood Ties alongside American actor Billy Crudup (Eat Pray Love). Based on the French novel Les liens du sang, Canet’s English-language debut centers on a younger brother (Crudup) who has to ask his convict older brother (Owen) to go back into the underworld to help out the family. Zoe Saldana (Colombiana) and Marion Cotillard (Contagion) have also signed on to join the cast alongside Mila Kunis (Friends with Benefits), who will play Corillard’s love interest, and James Caan (Detachment). Canet co-wrote the script for Blood Ties with writer-director James Gray (We Own the Night), and is set to start filming in New York in April.