In today’s casting round-up, we have news on films from the other Paul Anderson, a documentary filmmaker’s move into fiction, and something that will likely involve a lot of body oil...
First up is Kiefer Sutherland, who's set to play the villain, a Roman senator slave-owner, in Paul W.S. Anderson latest schlock epic, “Pompeii.” The film -- in 3D naturally -- is set in the titular city mere days before the infamous eruption of Mount Vesuvius with “Game of Thrones” actor Kit Harington as a slave who must save his true love (Emily Browning) from the volcano’s destructive path and an arranged marriage with Sutherland. So a lower-rung “Titanic,” then? Is it too late to recast Sutherland as the volcano? [THR]
After starring in Alex Proyas’ sci-fi noir “Dark City,” Rufus Sewell never found quite his niche as a leading man but it seems that he’s getting a boost from certified franchise-savior Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The English actor has been cast opposite Johnson in Brett Ratner’s “Hercules” as Autolycus. In case you’re not familiar with Greek and Roman mythology, Autolycus was the Greek figure who taught Herakles (the Greek name of Hercules) the art of wrestling and ends up framing him for the theft of cattle. The script was written by Ryan Condal with a rewrite by “Tarzan 2” and "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning" screenwriter Evan Spiliotopolous. Which is all you need to know, right? [Deadline]
Like many others last year, we were impressed by Nate Parker’s turn in “Arbitrage” and though he may have had to drop out of Spike Lee’s take on “Oldboy” last year, documentary filmmaker Amy Berg (“West Of Memphis” and “Deliver Us From Evil”) has added the actor to the cast of her directorial fictional film debut “Every Secret Thing.” The film, adapted from Laura Lippman’s novel of the same name, will center around Dakota Fanning and Danielle MacDonald as newly freed girls who were convicted at 11 for murdering a baby. Parker will play a police officer alongside Elizabeth Banks and Diane Lane. We hope Parker can continue the streak he’s on as he’ll next be seen in David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and in the next entry in the Liam Neeson-is-a-badass genre, “Non-Stop.” [Black Film]
And finally, “Haywire” and “Ceremony” star Michael Angarano has been cast in the Jason Statham remake of the little-seen 1986 Burt Reynolds vehicle, “Heat.” Statham subs in for the Reynolds here as an ex-mercenary and former gambling addict working as a bodyguard in Las Vegas who teaches a meek man, Angarano, to be tough while seeking out revenge on a mobster who abused his escort friend. The film is written by “All The President’s Men” and “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid” screenwriter William Goldman and directed by Simon West. So this could go either way but Statham’s core audience will show up anyway. [Deadline]
Bonus round: The debut feature from celebrated director of shorts, Ariel Kleinman (whose “Deeper Than Yesterday” cleaned up at Sundance and Cannes), will star Oscar Isaac, the current Coen muse whose next-big-thing credentials are secured as the lead in their folk-music feature, “Inside Llewyn Davis” set to be released by CBS Films. Kleinman’s rather lower-key film, “Partisan," will be an indie fable of “a vengeful man raising his children to attack the world that wronged him”. This has festival-fodder written all over it, and more Isaac is always a good thing. [Deadline] --additional reporting by India Ross