By Benjamin Wright | The Playlist July 31, 2012 at 3:01PM
First, “True Blood” fans may feel a tinge of excitement when they read that Bon Temps, Louisiana resident Lafayette Reynolds may be stepping away to the screen for a moment. Beloved “True Blood” actor Nelsan Ellis will be lending his talent to “Precious” director Lee Daniels’ upcoming “The Butler,” which has recently been lining up an ensemble consisting of Liam Neeson, John Cusack, Forest Whitaker, Robin Williams, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., and frankly more actors than we have space for here. Ellis will take on the role of Martin Luther King Jr., which we assume will be no easy feat, but certainly a rewarding one if all goes according to plan. “The Butler” tells the true story of Eugene Allen, a White House butler (Whitaker) who served eight Presidents over the span of three decades and was witness to all kinds of history and famous people.
Next, “G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra” and “Star Trek” bombshell Rachel Nichols will be shedding the green skin of the latter to step into (original) “Fright Night” helmer Tom Holland’s “Ten O’Clock People” – one of the many Stephen King adaptations racing to the silver screen. The actress is currently in negotiations to join the film which centers on a man who is attempting to rid himself of his treacherous smoking habit, all while becoming awakened to the idea that he lives in a frightening reality where many authority figures are almost literally monsters – a la John Carpenter’s “They Live.” Justin Long is set to play the man that joins a secretive group of other like-minded individuals, known only as the Ten O’Clock People, because they all suffer from a unique chemical imbalance caused by their yearning to quit smoking. Nichols will be taking the role of his love interest, a woman who can also see these horrible aspects of the story's reality.
Finally, Luke Wilson is continuing on his run of smaller independent pictures, as he’s in final negotiations for a film entitled “Million Dollar Man.” Wilson will play a lowly soda company truck driver who’s given a second lease on life when he becomes a football kicker. Any similarities to the Tony Danza starring “The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon” are merely coincidental, right? Garry Marshall offspring Scott Marshall, the man who brought us the timeless Jessica Simpson and Luke Wilson romantic comedy “Blonde Ambition,” is at the helm for this one -- perhaps making for one of the more interesting auteur/actor working relationships of late. Move over Marty and Leo! [Deadline/THR/Variety]