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Anthony Mackie Joins 'Runner, Runner,' Freida Pinto & Alfred Molina Topline 'Desert Dancer'

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by Cain Rodriguez
May 18, 2012 10:30 AM
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With production set to begin next month, “Runner, Runner” is looking to add another rising star to its ranks. Deadline reports that “The Hurt Locker” star is in talks to join the online gambling thriller written by “Rounders” duo Brian Koppelman and David Levien, and directed by “The Lincoln Lawyer” helmer Brad Furman.

Mackie will join a stacked cast that includes Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, and “Project X” star Oliver Cooper. It’s been a busy year for Mackie, who has already appeared in the Sam Worthington snoozefest “Man On A Ledge” and will appear in two films opening later this year, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and “Gangster Squad.” With his profile increasing, he’ll hopefully get a chance to get more lead roles like the one in the ill-fated Paul Greegrass-helmed Jimi Hendrix biopic.

Across the pond, U.K. production “Desert Dancer,” based on the life of Iranian dancer Afshin Ghaffarian, has, according to Variety, signed a trio of stars, Freida Pinto, Alfred Molina, and Reece Ritchie. Richard Raymond , who produced Jim Sturgess starrer "Heartless," makes his directorial debut, with a script from the writer of the upcoming sequel to “The Woman In Black,” Jon Croker.

Ritchie ("The Lovely Bones") stars as Ghaffarian who tries to achieve his dream of becoming a dancer in Iran, where many forms of public dancing is banned, during the tumultuous 2009 election protests. No word on who Molina and Pinto are playing, but we suspect they may end up in some kind of father/love interest roles. Filming is set to start this summer in Turkey and Jordan.

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