Michael Caine
Michael Caine

EARLIER: 80-year-old Michael Caine is lining up a couple of intriguing projects, one of them being shopped at this year's AFM: "Harry and the Butler," also set to star Samuel L. Jackson, with George C. Wolf ("Lackawanna Blues") at the helm. It centers on a one-time New Orleans jazz virtuoso (Jackson) who hires himself an aging, down-on-his-luck Brit butler (Caine) when bequeathed a large sum of money. The project is eyeing a spring production start on location in Louisiana.

The other Caine project is Paolo Sorrentino's "In the Future." Sorrentino is the helmer of this year's Italian Oscar entry "The Great Beauty" (trailer here), a sumptuously and lyrically shot film centering on an aging once-novelist (Toni Servillo) atrophying in Rome's party scene. At the moment, all details on "In the Future" are under wraps. This is the director's second outing with a high-profile English-speaking star -- Sean Penn starred in 2011's "This Must Be the Place."

EARLIER: Every year a rash of new projects are assembled and packaged for sale at the American Film Market (AFM), which this year runs from November 6-13 in Santa Monica. Whether they ever get made is anybody's guess. But producers and financiers "attach" directors and would-be stars to movies for foreign sales companies to pre-sell to territories around the world, from Japan and Korea to Spain and Colombia.

These are the foreign indies, aimed at a global market. They have a bigger budget than the average Sundance movie, but are much cheaper than any studio movie (though, however, many will be bought by the studios, who shop AFM along with hordes of other buyers).

Nicolas Gonda, producer and co-founder of Tugg, is set to deliver the keynote address at the AFM’s Marketing Conference on November 11. Comedian Adam Carolla will deliver the keynote at the Production Conference on Sunday, November 10. 

So, what's coming together at the market? 

-Dustin Hoffman is set to headline "Boy Choir," which also has Alfred Molina and Kathy Bates attached in supporting roles. Francois Girard is helming. The film tells the story of a troubled 11-year-old from the wrong side of the tracks who ends up at a Boy Choir school back East, caught up in a battle of wills with a demanding Choir Master Carvelle (Hoffman) who recognizes his unique talent.

Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender

-Michael Fassbender is in talks for the lead in "Trespass Against Us," an original gangster film by Alistair Siddons. It's set across three generations of the rowdy Cutler family, who live as outlaws but, defying the expectations of his father, Chad Cutler (Fassbender) is looking for a way out of the criminal life. Chemical Brothers to score. The question is: How many films can Fassbender possibly do? At the moment he's got a lot lined up ("Slow West," "Macbeth," plus rumors of "Assassin's Creed," a "Prometheus" sequel, and "Genius").

-Robert De Niro is aboard "Candy Store," to be helmed by Stephen Gaghan. Jason Clarke and Omar Sy are also attached. It centers on an undercover agent who begins a new life as a beat cop in Brooklyn, but finds that his past life comes back to haunt him.

-Patrick Wilson has signed on for "The Man on Carrion Road." Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego ("Apollo 18," "Open Grave") will direct. It centers on a botched Mexican cartel deal in the back roads of a border town. The town's new sheriff (Wilson) must team up with the retired lawman he replaced to investigate the source of the deal in order to stop a mysterious cartel butcher and his systematic brutalization of the town's residents.