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Zac Efron Is A 'Narc,' Zach Braff Adds Kate Hudson To 'Wish I Was Here'

The Playlist By Ken Guidry | The Playlist May 22, 2013 at 6:39PM

Even if we wouldn't say he's quite cracked it yet, we've got a lot of respect for the way that Zac Efron is trying to establish himself as a proper grown-up adult actor. After all, the "High School Musical" series would be an albatross for many, but Efron's quietly been banging out a diverse mix of parts, and while things like "The Paperboy" and "At Any Price" haven't quite paid off yet, he's heading in the right direction. The actor's got several promising projects in the can already, including rom-com "Are We Officially Dating?," JFK ensemble drama "Parkland" and Seth Rogen/Nick Stoller comedy "Townies," and now, hot on the back of signing on to Eran Creevy's "Autobahn," the actor's just lined up thriller "Narc." Sounding a bit like a laugh-free "21 Jump Street," the project's being described as a based-in-fact, college-set version of "Donnie Brasco," and will see the actor play a fratboy who's busted for cocaine possession, and who agrees to become an informant to avoid jail time. The film's set up at Fox
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Efron Hudson

Even if we wouldn't say he's quite cracked it yet, we've got a lot of respect for the way that Zac Efron is trying to establish himself as a proper grown-up adult actor. After all, the "High School Musical" series would be an albatross for many, but Efron's quietly been banging out a diverse mix of parts, and while things like "The Paperboy" and "At Any Price" haven't quite paid off yet, he's heading in the right direction. The actor's got several promising projects in the can already, including rom-com "Are We Officially Dating?," JFK ensemble drama "Parkland" and Seth Rogen/Nick Stoller comedy "Townies," and now, hot on the back of signing on to Eran Creevy's "Autobahn," the actor's just lined up thriller "Narc." Sounding a bit like a laugh-free "21 Jump Street," the project's being described as a based-in-fact, college-set version of "Donnie Brasco," and will see the actor play a fratboy who's busted for cocaine possession, and who agrees to become an informant to avoid jail time. The film's set up at Fox [The Wrap]

Elsewhere in news about people whose names start with the letters Z, A and C, Zach Braff is ignoring the haters and plugging on with casting for his long... well, awaited might be the wrong word for it, but let's say long-planned, sophomore feature, "Wish I Was Here." Famously Kickstarted, and infamously funded with substantial international pre-sales on top of that, the film will see Braff play a father who's struggling to get by, and who escapes into fantasy. The film's got a pretty decent supporting cast lined up already, with Anna Kendrick, Josh Gad and Mandy Patinkin all on board, and now they've been joined, per a press release, by Kate Hudson, who'll play Braff's wife (who may or may not like The Shins).

Unlike older brother Chris, Liam Hemsworth has yet to prove he can carry a film by himself. Still, he appeared in a couple of box office hits last year (“Hunger Games”, “Expendables 2”), which have surely helped to boost his profile, and now Relativity Media looks to capitalize by having Liam star in their upcoming project “Aurora Rising.” Penned by Christian Gudegast (“A Man Apart”), Hemsworth plays a Southern California surfer turned military fighter pilot who gets recruited to be part of an elite team to test the next generation of aircraft just as an international conflict begins. Liam will first get to test his star power in the thriller “Paranoia” which co-stars Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman. That film comes out on August 16th. [Deadline]

While “Iron Man 3” featured Chinese actors Wang Xueqi and Fan Bingbing having larger roles in the Chinese version of the film, the producers behind “Transformers 4” look to go one better. Chinese actress Li Bingbing (“Resident Evil: Retribution”) will be joining the film alongside a slate of Chinese stars that have yet to be announced. Not only is the move an attempt to make the film more appealing to Chinese audiences, but since there will be Chinese financers and actors involved, the producers are hoping to qualify the film as a Sino-US production, which would circumvent the import quota in China. That would allow for a bigger proportion of box office earnings. The third Transformers film, “Dark of the Moon,” was the second highest grossing foreign film that was screened in China. [THR]

Though he has appeared in such films as “The Bourne Supremacy,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and most recently, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” Marton Csokas is still pretty much unknown to most. But he’s got four big films on his slate, including “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah,” and he’s just signed on to play the villain in “The Equalizer.” “The Equalizer” been through a troubled production over the years, but things appear to be going much more smoothly with Antoine Fuqua at the helm. Denzel Washington and Chloe Moretz play the film’s main leads. Washington plays a retired intelligence officer whose one act of kindness toward a prostitute (Moretz) gets him in trouble with the Russian mafia. Csokas’s character plays a “vicious fixer for the Russians.” So, it’s best to remember his name now, as we’ll be seeing much more from Marton Csokas in the next few years. [THR]

These days, any major news story can turn into a major feature film and that is definitely the case with “The 33.” Antonio Banderas will be starring in the film that tells the true story of the 33 Chilean miners who were stuck in a mine for 69 days back in 2010. Banderas will play charismatic miner Mario Sepulveda who is known to the world as “Super Mario.” Production will begin this fall in Chile. And speaking of South America, Gael Garcia Bernal will star in a film with the working title of "Evita" -- but it's not a musical, it instead focuses on the long journey that the body of Eva Peron took until it made it back to Argentina. We're assuming the film won't be full of "Weekend At Bernie's"-style antics.  [Screendaily/Variety]

Speaking of real life stories gone Hollywood, Anthony Hopkins has joined the cast of “Gotti,” starring alongside John Travolta and Kelly Preston. Hopkins is set to play a senior New York gangster with Travolta playing the title role, John “The Teflon Don” Gotti. Joe Johnston (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) will direct the film, which focuses on the don’s career as a gangster boss while his son decides to leave behind a world of crime to redeem himself. Filming is set to begin in New York this September. [Variety]

An Education” was widely admired by critics back in 2009. The film turned Carey Mulligan into a star and wound up collecting three Oscar nominations the following year. Reaction to Lone Scherfig’s follow-up “One Day” was not nearly as enthusiastic, but she is at it again with “Posh.” Sam Claflin (“Hunger Games”), Douglas Booth (“Great Expectations,” 2011 UK mini-series), and Max Irons (“The Host”) are confirmed to star in “Posh,” which “follows two students at Oxford University who join the Riot Club – a fictionalized version of the infamous drinking gang The Bullingdon Club – where reputations can be made or destroyed in one evening.” The movie is based on the West End play by Laura Wade. Production will get underway in June. [screendaily]

David Ayer’s upcoming film “Fury” continues to build its cast that already includes Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, and Michael Pena. Now it seems “Walking Dead” star Jon Bernthal is in talks to join the film as well. “Fury,” set in World War II, “follows the commander of a Sherman tank and its five-man crew on a mission behind enemy lines in April 1945 and Nazi Germany collapses.” Bernthal is expected to play Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis. [the wrap]


This article is related to: Zac Efron, Wish I Was Here, Kate Hudson, Liam Hemsworth, Narc, Aurora Rising, Bingbing Li, Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Equalizer, Marton Csokas, Antonio Banderas, The 33, Anthony Hopkins, Gotti, The Riot Club, Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Jon Bernthal, Fury


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