Frank Grillo Leads 'The Purge 2,' Zac Efron Catches 'Fire,' Imogen Poots Visits 'A Country Called Home' & More

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by Cain Rodriguez
December 12, 2013 1:36 PM
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cast roundup 12/12/13

One of the surprise hits of the year was this summer’s cheap Ethan Hawke-starring horror movie “The Purge,” and with the $3 million-budgeted film making nearly $90 million worldwide, you better believe Universal wants a re-up. Deadline reports the studio’s reteaming with Blumhouse Productions—the production company behind other horror cheapies like the “Paranormal Activity” series—for “The Purge 2” with Frank Grillo subbing in for Ethan Hawke and the original film’s director—James DeMonaco—returning to helm and write the sequel. As is the case with low-budget horror fare, the film’s already scheduled for release next year on June 20th. For now, plot details are being kept secret.

With development on the follow-up to “Tron: Legacy” stalled, the sequel’s writer, Jesse Wigutow, has found new work in the form of the graphic novel adaptation “Fire.” Per Deadline, Wigutow has signed on to script the film, based on the Brian Michael Bendis graphic novel which follows “a college student who is recruited by the CIA only to find out he is being trained for a program that churns out expendable spies.” The adaptation has been a pet project of Zac Efron’s for a few years now—he and the original author, Bendis, brought the project to Universal—and the former Disney star is set to star.

Originally revealed in an interview with Roger Ebert earlier this year, Ramin Bahrani's “99 Homes” has moved along quickly, nabbing both Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon. Now the “At Any Price” filmmaker has cast another great actor as Deadline reports Laura Dern has been tapped to play Garfield’s “widowed mother who raised him and nine-year-old son.” The film’s currently shooting in New Orleans.

You might not like it but “Fifty Shades of Grey” will be hitting the big screen in 2015, and though the film’s currently shooting in our neighbor to the north, the adaptation of the best-seller has added a trio of actors. First up, Variety reports Marcia Gay Harden will play the adoptive mother of the titular character, Christian Grey. Hopefully she’ll be in drunk “Newsroom” mode. Meanwhile Dakota Johnson’s Anastasia Steele will get two stepfathers—via Deadline—in the form of Dylan Neal and Callum Keith Rennie.

Last seen in the awful young adult novel adaptation “Beautiful Creatures,” Jeremy Irons will be heading to more historical fare with “The Man Who Knew Infinity.” THR reports Irons will co-star in the biopic of famed Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who will be played by Dev Patel. Matthew Brown will write and direct from Robert Kanigel’s biography of the mathematician. Shooting in the U.K. and India is scheduled for next year.

Finally, Imogen Poots has taken the lead role in the upcoming indie comedy drama "A Country Called Home." Produced by Nicolas Gonda ("To the Wonder," "The Tree of Life," "Knight of Cups"), and the full-length directorial and screenplay debut of writer-director Anna Axster, the story follows Ellie, a young woman that finds her jaded world unexpectedly shaken when the news of her estranged father’s death forces the 27-year-old to reexamine her place in life and confront what happens when the structures and safety nets we build for ourselves come undone. Adding a bit of flavor will be musician Ryan Bingham ("Crazy Heart"), who will curate the soundtrack and score. A Kickstarter campaign is now underway for this one.

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