• If Jon Favreau’s Chef was ever in danger of receiving adequate financing, he can probably breathe easy now. Robert Downey Jr. has signed on to join the independent comedy. Downey Jr. and Favreau have worked together for years on the Iron Man franchise. Favreau plays the role of Happy Hogan, and also directed the first two films. In Chef, which Favreau wrote — and will direct and star in — a recently fired chef tries to regain control of his craft by opening a food truck. Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara is also set to star. [Deadline]
• Kate Winslet will star in the period film, The Dressmaker, about a woman who returns to the town that ostracized her as a child. After charming everyone with ideas of couture and women’s liberation, she begins to exact revenge. Based on Rosalie Ham’s novel, Jocelyn Moorhouse (How to Make an American Quilt) will direct the project. [Screen Daily]
• The Disney update of Into the Woods has cast the role of the Baker (don’t worry, it’s not Johnny Depp). Tony-award winning British stage actor James Corden (The History Boys) will play the role. Rob Marshall (Chicago) is on board to direct, and Depp is now officially set to play the role of Wolf. [THR]
• Nicolas Cage (National Treasure) is set to star in the supernatural thriller Hotel 33, about the real life disappearance of 32 people on the opening night of a Pennsylvania hotel in 1953. Cage will star as the detective on the case. While he’s investigating, some teenagers decide to have a party in the abandoned hotel and half of them go missing too. Actress and screenwriter Kellie Madison (Dear Mr. Gacy) will make her feature debut on the film.
• Salma Hayek is taking a break from comedies (30 Rock, Grown Ups, Here Comes the Boom) to star in the action movie Everly, about a woman whose mob boss ex unleashes a pack of assassins on her, and she must fight them off. The black list script sets the entire film in one room. The project will shoot in Serbia this summer. [Deadline]
• Chloe Moretz (Dark Shadows) is in talks to join Denzel Washington (Flight) in Antoine Fuqua’s (Training Day) The Equalizer. Based on the 1980s television show, Moretz’s role was originally intended for an older actress but has been redrawn just for her. She’ll play a young prostitute. [Deadline]
• You might remember her from 8 Mile, but Taryn Manning will always be Britney Spears’ friend from Crossroads to some of us. The actress has just signed on to join John Hawkes (The Sessions) and Elle Fanning (Super 8) in the independent film Low Down about a heroin-addicted jazz pianist. Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Glenn Close (Damages) also star in the film. Jeff Preiss will make his feature directing debut on the project. [THR]
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