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Danny Boyle Wants Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson To Join James McAvoy In 'Trance'

by Oliver Lyttelton
July 4, 2011 10:27 AM
11 Comments
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Zoe Saldana and Mélanie Thierry Also In Contention, Michael Fassbender Definitely Out



If there was every any doubt, after work like "Shallow Grave," "Trainspotting" and "Sunshine," Danny Boyle has firmly planted his feet among the A-list of directors: he's had two Best Picture nominees in a row, with the first of them, "Slumdog Millionaire" winning a Best Director Oscar; he's scored a big stage hit in "Frankenstein"; and he's been handed the responsibility for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. While the latter will take up most of Boyle's next year, he's not going to be totally absent from the film world; it was announced a few months ago that he's planning a new heist thriller, "Trance," a remake of the 2001 British TV movie.

The plot involves an employee of an auction house who recruits a gang for a heist, only to wake with amnesia, and forget the location of the stolen painting, leading to the suspicious thieves bringing in a hypnotist. The plan is for Boyle to shoot the film before his Olympics duties, and then edit it afterwards. Unsurprisingly, the director was assembling an impressive cast, with Michael Fassbender in talks for the leader of the robbers, and James McAvoy to play the amnesiac, reuniting the stars of "X-Men First Class." The bad news is casting has hit a bump in the road, the good is that there are some high-profile replacements waiting in the wings.

Twitch reports that Fassbender has been forced to drop out, due to the always-popular "scheduling conflicts," (although with what is unclear: we expect an announcement on a new project or a vacation for the actor in the same slot soon), as had rather been suspected for some time -- when McAvoy's casting was announced, it was originally reported that Fassbender was off the film. The good news is that Boyle isn't hanging about, and wants Oscar-winner Colin Firth to step in to replace the Irish-German actor in the role of Aiden. It's not a typical part for Firth, it would seem, which is intriguing, and his slate is clear, although he is playing another thief at present, opposite Cameron Diaz in "Gambit."

Meanwhile, there's a female lead going as well (at a guess, we'd say it could be the hypnotist), and supposedly Scarlett Johansson heads up a short list of actresses, with Zoe Saldana and "The Princess of Montpensier" star Mélanie Thierry not far behind. With the lengthy shoot for "The Avengers" still ongoing, and Jonathan Glazer's "Under The Skin" set to start up in the near future (it recently received $2.8 million in U.K. funding), her schedule may be trickier, so we wouldn't be surprised to see one of the other actors step up (and/or her dumping Glazer for Boyle and the poor "Sexy Beast" helmer having to look elsewhere).

All in all, things are looking promising, although we're slightly concerned that the film has the potential to be as overly styled as "127 Hours" was in some moments, and it's still unclear who's writing it: we assume that Boyle's current go-to guy Simon Beaufoy is involved, but that is only an assumption. Filming will start in September, and then the rushes will be put on ice until August 2012, when Boyle will start editing for a release in early 2013.

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11 Comments

  • Sean | July 4, 2011 7:08 AMReply

    I hope ScarJo stays with Glazer. She has the potential to be good in that. And considering the role, I think it's something she could handle. As for Trance, let an actress with more of a capacity of acting handle it. (Did someone say Emily Blunt?)

  • I Need Unguent | July 4, 2011 5:38 AMReply

    Think since McAvoy and Fassbender have 3-picture deals with Fox for "X-Men" sequels, they're restricted from working in other films while under contract?

    Would LOVE to see McAvoy and Firth together!! Johansson? Meh

  • LL | July 4, 2011 4:20 AMReply

    Colin Firth and James McAvoy together would be a cinematic dream come true! (Don't you think Fassbender and McAvoy may be constrained from starring together while under contract for two more X-Men films?) Boyle could do better than Scarlet Johansson.

  • mary | July 4, 2011 4:06 AMReply

    Very few Hollywood actresses under 30 can open movies on their own; Emma Stone and Amanda Seyfried are two of the very few examples. (Emily Blunt, Rose Byrne, Abbie Cornish and even Scarlett Johansson aren't.)

  • rodie | July 4, 2011 3:40 AMReply

    I'd like to see Anne Hathaway as the hypnotist. Roes Byrne could do well too as HiS said below...

  • Kevin Jagernauth | July 4, 2011 3:28 AMReply

    Speaking of actresses who can't open a movie on their own....

  • Hollywood is Strange | July 4, 2011 3:18 AMReply

    What is wrong with Hollyweird ? Why is that crazy town constantly giving juicy parts to the non-acting Scarlett Johansson ? Plus , she cannot open a movie. What about giving these roles to these worthy actresses : Emily Blunt, Rose Byrne, and Abbie Cornish ?

  • gonad | July 4, 2011 2:24 AMReply

    Fassbenders probably doing the Jarmusch vampire pic around the same time. Maybe, dunno.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | July 4, 2011 1:54 AMReply

    The reason for the big gap between shooting and editing is due to Boyle's work for the London Olympics next year.

  • Mr Anonymous | July 4, 2011 1:51 AMReply

    'Filming will start in September, and then the rushes will be put on ice until August 2012, when Boyle will start editing for a release in early 2013'.

    Strange way to make a film. Why is that happening? Surely the film can be released for a 2012 release date?

  • mary | July 4, 2011 1:21 AMReply

    Rumor is that “Under The Skin” will be filming in October/November this year.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1441395/board/nest/184136863?p=1

    Don't worry.... I guess Scarlett Johansson will drop out from "Undet the Skin".

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