Looks like those reports that ran earlier this year saying Bryan Singer has been leveraging "Jack The Giant Killer" casting -- his upcoming new project for New Line -- as a way to also look out for "X-Men: First Class" actors -- the Matthew Vaughn-directed project he's producing and wrote the treatment for -- ran both ways.
While Aaron Johnson ("Kick-Ass"), who was reported to be a contender last May before the project was delayed, appears to be back in the race, another actor, Nicholas Hoult, who was cast as the mutant Beast in the aforementioned "X-Men: First Class," has popped up on the short list for 'Jack's leading man as well.
Penned by Christopher McQuarrie, who won a well-deserved 1995 Best Screenplay Oscar for his work on Singer's "The Usual Suspects" and also scripted the director's last film, "Valkyrie," "Jack The Giant Killer" centers around a war between giants and humans, set off by the kidnapping of a princess, and the young farmer who journeys to the giant kingdom on a rescue mission.
THR reports that Johnson, Hoult and 23-year-old British stage and screen actor Aneurin Barnard (the upcoming film, "Ironclad" with Paul Giamatti and Kate Mara) are all up for the part of the young farmer. Evidently Jamie Campbell Bower ("Sweeney Todd," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1") was also in contention, but a recent ankle break has unfortunately thrown him out of consideration.
And the ladies are also lining up for parts. One of them, included in our actresses-on-the-rise feature which will run tomorrow, is Juno Temple, who was great in Gregg Arraki's otherwise erratic "Kaboom" and also put in an excellent turn earlier this year in Jordan Scott's "Cracks." Also in the mix for the female leads are Adelaide Kane and Lily Collins, the latter of which was up for the female lead in Marc Webb's "Spider-Man" 3D, and the former of which is an Australian TV actress (she also had a role in the "Power Rangers R.P.M." children's TV series).
The film was scheduled to begin shooting in London and Iceland earlier this summer and Singer had (naturally) considered shooting the film in 3D, but the latest press reports say Singer is still pre-visualizing exactly how to carry out the effects -- plus studios are in the middle of slashing budgets -- and the new start date is now March 2011. THR also says that actors are being asked to keep an unusually long eight or nine months free which means the production will likely be effects heavy and protracted. Testing should begin in the next two weeks.
One actor conspicuously not on this shortlist, but mentioned back in March is Andrew Garfield. Now that he's playing "Spider-Man" with an extensive 2011 shoot that is likely to spill over into the late winter, we can assume the 27-year-old is now too busy to play the lead.