Relativity announced today that the "currently titled" (we presume this means it will change) movie was kicking off production with the already announced Christian Bale and Zoe Saldana in the lead roles. However, they also confirmed the contending Casey Affleck is now official, with Sam Shepard joining the movie as well. The Black List script penned by Brad Ingelsby follows Russell Baze (Bale) and his younger brother Rodney (Affleck), who live in the economically depressed Rust Belt, and have always dreamed of escaping and finding better lives. But when a cruel twist of fate lands Russell in prison, his brother is lured into one of the most violent and ruthless crime rings in the Northeast -- a mistake that will almost cost him everything. Once released, Russell must choose between his own freedom, or risk it all to seek justice for his brother. Saldana plays Russell's love interest, with Shepard as his Uncle.
Not mentioned in the announcement are either Billy Bob Thornton or Forest Whitaker who, a couple of weeks ago, were mentioned for the roles of the villain and sleazy bookie respectively. Perhaps their deals are still being finalized.
Either way, it's great material and a solid cast, and undoubtedly it will be attracting major attention when the international rights are up for grabs at Cannes next month.