Hillcoat's long-gestating project has the edge for now simply because it's working from a stellar script (by musician Nick Cave) and has an excellent cast attached to it so far including Tom Hardy ("Inception"), Jessica Chastain ("The Tree Of Life"), and Shia LaBeouf. And now it's all the more enticing now that one more fantastic actress is potentially joining the cast: 21-year-old Australian Actress Mia Wasikowska who starred in 2010's highest-grossing film ("Alice In Wonderland") and one of the best indies of the year ("The Kids Are All Right").
It's also a project back from the dead -- an earlier incarnation with Amy Adams, Ryan Gosling and potentially Scarlett Johansson crashed and burned in late 2010, but Hillcoat persevered and found new funding (incidentally, in case you're wondering Hillcoat is now officially off the police drama "Triple Nine," presumably to make room for 'Wettest')
The film centers on the story of three brothers— Forrest, Howard and Jack in order of age and toughness —running a bootlegging gang during Prohibition whose moonshine dynasty in Franklin County, Virginia is threatened by the authorities wanting a cut. There's no word on who Wasikowska plays, but since we know the script intimately, we can tell you right now she plays a Mennonite love interest of LaBeoufs.
The problem is that Wasikowska is also interested in "Stoker," a fantastical, fairy-tale like family drama written by Ted Foulke, the sobriquet of "Prison Break" star Wentworth Miller who's also even penned a prequel called "Uncle Charlie". The prequel is a good title considering the film is about a teenage girl mourning the death of her father who deals with an uncle who mysteriously shows up to meet the family -- people start to go missing in her hometown and she discovers that her uncle may be the cause. Both screenplays were on the Blacklist in 2009 and 2010.
Variety, who give us this news, doesn't name who Wasikowska would play either, but it's more than obvious that she would play the female lead which likely means Carey Mulligan -- who was only ever loosely attached to the project -- is no longer in the mix. Last we heard, South-Korean auteur, Park Chan-wook — known for thrilling audiences with “Oldboy” — was potentially in line to direct, but even then that was far from a done deal and still in the talking stage. Set up at Fox Searchlight, "Stoker," is also under the aegis of producers Ridley and Tony Scott through their Scott Free Productions. To be accurate, Variety does mention that Jodie Foster and Carey Mulligan were once attached (or are still attached), but trust us when we say neither Mulligan or Wasikowska are going to play second fiddle to one another (and as we understand it, there's only one major teenage female lead). Johnny Depp has been rumored to play Uncle Charlie, but even if that's true, consider it the loosest of all attachments and possibly one that won't stick (guy has the trickiest sched in Hollywood and doesn't like to be gone from his kids for too long).
So Wasikowska wants to to star in both films but as of right now she's dealing with a scheduling conflict between the two projects. The good is is her reps and the studios are working to resolve the issues if they can, in the meantime her negotiations for both projects are on hold. Our guess is if one has to fall by the wayside it's probably "Wettest County" as that part is much smaller than the part in "Stoker" (or at least her agents surely want her to drop the smaller part).