Incoming casting news, fresh from the French Riviera: first off, Philip Seymour Hoffman has signed on for a new film, so we can all get our regular dose of rumpled magnificence. “God's Pocket” will be directed by John Slattery, who you know as “Mad Men”'s silver fox Roger Sterling but who is making the move to directing (having helmed several excellent episodes of the series in which he stars), adapting a Pete Dexter novel about Mickey (Hoffman), whose attempts to move on after the suspicious, and not unwelcome, death of his unstable stepson are frustrated by a local reporter with a hunch.
Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks and John Turturro are all also involved, which is a pretty damn promising quartet (but then, so is “Philip Seymour Hoffman and three extras, or dead people, or inanimate objects”). God's Pocket, if you’re wondering, is the name of the South Philly neighborhood where it all goes down. [Deadline]
Meanwhile the great Cate Blanchett has been cast as the lead in “Blackbird,” to be written and directed by David Mamet, in whose play “Oleanna” Blanchett had her very first leading role. The project will follow Blanchett's character as she uncovers the truth about her late grandfather, a Hollywood make-up artist who turns out to have been mixed up with the CIA's special ops division, and perhaps with the JFK assassination. We’re sure it’s just a coincidence that a movie about Hollywood make-up artists working for the CIA was a mega-success last year.
Mamet's screenwriting is legendary (“The Postman Always Rings Twice,” “The Untouchables,” “Wag The Dog,” not to mention his stage plays), but his half-dozen directing gigs have never quite caught fire. Nevertheless, it's an intriguing concept, and Blanchett is a brilliant actress, so this one should be worth watching. [Variety]