By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood June 1, 2011 at 6:05AM
Several intriguing projects are getting off the ground and expanding their casts, from Legendary's Jackie Robinson biopic to Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master and Disney's The Girlfriend Equation. Updates on these projects and more are below:
- Baseball legend Jackie Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson, is collaborating with backer/producer Legendary to maintain authenticity and accuracy. Brian Helgeland (LA Confidential, Mystic River) will write and direct a project that has eluded many in the past, including Spike Lee. “I believe that with the support of Rachel Robinson," states Helgeland, "we have a unique opportunity to bring one of the most famed stories in American culture and baseball to the screen.”
- Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar has now wrapped. But Eric Matheny, who plays the doctor of Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) in the biopic, tells E! that DiCaprio -- who plays the FBI chief from his 20s through to the age of 77 -- was in " six hours in makeup for almost 12-hour days." Matheny adds that DiCaprio was barely recognizable except for his eyes, and notes that his "endurance was astounding." Matheny says he is playing "Dr. Feelgood...As Hoover gets older he gets, as Clint Eastwood says, 'a B12 shot with a little something extra.'" Here's more on J. Edgar: The Cast, Hammer and DiCaprio.
- Director James Gray is helming Low Life, and frequent collaborator Joaquin Phoenix (pictured together on the set of We Own The Night) could mark his long-awaited return to the big-screen, alongside Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner. Cotillard will play a Polish immigrant who trades sexual favors in order to keep her sick sister alive; she's thus tainted upon arriving on American soil and falls in with the wrong company -- Phoenix -- before finding hope with his cousin, a magician played by Renner. It all sounds promising, but these actors are in-demand and scheduling will be tricky. The Playlist has more.
- Phoenix is also slated for Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, which just landed Lena Endre (of the Swedish Dragon Tattoo trilogy) as well as Jesse Plemons (Friday Night Lights, Paul), David Warshofsky (There Will Be Blood) and Laura Dern. Philip Seymour Hoffman is also starring as the founder (or, "Master") of a new religious movement (with similarities to Scientology) aimed at those who experienced the horrors of WW II. Phoenix would play his right hand man. The 1950s set drama is set to start production this June. UPDATE: Amy Adams also just signed on.
- Meanwhile, Noah Baumbach's indie pic While We're Young may land Jesse Eisenberg and Naomi Watts, after the likes of Greta Gerwig, James Franco and Cate Blanchett all came and went, leaving Ben Stiller as the only sure-thing. This Baumbachian-comedy sets up two Brooklyn couples for mishaps when the younger pair tries to inspire the older couple to loosen up. Eisenberg has yet to find his mate, while Watts and Stiller would play the uptight older couple.
- X-Files's Gillian Anderson is in talks to play Miss Haversham across from Ray Winstone's Magwitch in a BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, which the Daily Mail says will come in the form of a three-part "sexually charged" and "visceral" miniseries. Here's more: The Playlist recalls past Miss Havershams.
- For every project that excites us, there's news of one that makes us raise an eyebrow. Disney snagged a pitch for The Girlfriend Equation, a comedy based on a story that first appeared on Public Radio's "This American Life." Tim Rasmussen and Vince Di Meglio (who both worked on License to Wed and Marmaduke) are writing the script; "Life" host Ira Glass serves as exec producer. The true story that Disney will make mainstream goes something like this: a Harvard grad student tries using complex math equations to find and woo the love of his life. Does this mean men finally have a chance at figuring out women?