Howl directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman will direct, with a script by W. Merritt Johnson (of TV's Temple Grandin, In Treatment). Neither Franco nor Hudson is a lock. Oscar-nominee and consummate multi-tasker Franco is busy: hosting the Oscars, directing his own movies, starring on Broadway with Nicole Kidman in Sweet Bird, and promoting his
summer fall tentpole Rise of the Apes. Hudson's work schedule is not as full as Franco's, but she's pregnant.
- James Gandolfini, everyone's favorite Jersey mobster (The Sopranos), is lining up a busy year. Sopranos creator David Chase is directing Twylight Zones, a debut feature in which Jersey teenagers pursue their rock 'n roll dreams. Gandolfini will play one of the band member's disapproving father. He is also in talks to join Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, which already stars Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, John Goodman, Viola Davis, Jeffrey Wright and newcomer Thomas Horn, who plays a nine-year-old boy who lost his father in 9/11 and two years later discovers a key of his father's that sends him searching New York City.
Gandolfini is also negotiating a role in Andrew Dominik's Cogan's Trade with Brad Pitt, Sam Rockwell, Bella Heathcote and Casey Affleck. Pitt stars as Jackie Cogan, the man sent to clean up a mob's high stakes poker game gone awry. Gandolfini's hit man character is brought in by Pitt to help, but is more of an alcoholic mess than a help. Shooting is set for spring. Gandolfini may have to make some choices. Twylight Zones is set to shoot next month, IMDb lists Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close for a 2012 release but ThePlaylist says it's "moving fast" and due to hit theaters this fall. 2009 release Welcome to the Rileys, which stars Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart and Oscar nominee Melissa Leo--goes out on DVD next month, and HBO's 70s drama Cinema Verite, about the first reality series starring the Loud family, airs this April.