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Casting Net: John Travolta to star in 'Life on the Line,' Peter Dinklage attached to 'The Thicket;' more

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• John Travolta, Kate Bosworth, and Devon Sawa have signed on to star in Life on the LineDavid Hackl is directing the action drama, which tells the story of linemen who fix electric grids on high wires. The group finds it difficult to maintain relationships with the women they love until a storm threatens to destroy their lives. Primo Brown, Dylan Scott, and Peter Horton wrote the script. Marvin Peart and Phillip Glasser are producing. Chad Dubea is executive producing. Production begins next week in Vancouver for six weeks. The budget is about $10 to $12 million. [The Wrap]

• Peter Dinklage is attached to star in The Thicket, an adaptation of Joe Lansdale’s crime thriller. Set in East Texas in the early 20th century, the story follows a young man, Jack, who sets out to rescue his sister from a killer, Cut Throat Bill, and his gang who have kidnapped her. Jack looks to Shorty (Dinklage), an alcoholic gravedigger/bounty hunter, for help. Gianni Nunnari’s production company, Hollywood Gang, is developing the project. Nunnari is producing alongside Dinklage and manager David Ginsberg under their recently formed production company. Shannon Gaulding, who works with Nunnari, is also producing. [Variety]

• Dean O’Gorman (The Hobbit) will play Kirk Douglas in the Dalton Trumbo biopic, Trumbo. Jay Roach is directing the film, which stars Bryan Cranston as the screenwriter who was blacklisted for his connection to Communism. The film also stars David James Elliot as John Wayne, Michael Stuhlbarg as Edward G. Robinson, Diane Lane as Trumbo’s wife, and Helen Mirren as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. John Goodman, Peter Mackenzie, and Roger Bart are part of the cast as well. Douglas starred and was an executive producer in 1960’s Spartacus. He helped hire Trumbo to write the script for the film when jobs were sparse for him, and later credited Trumbo, an act that arguably contributed to the decline of the Blacklist’s power. Michael London and his Groundswell Productions are producing. The film has U.S. distribution through Bleecker Street and is currently in production in New Orleans. [THR]

• John Gallagher Jr. (The Newsroom) has signed on for Paramount Insurge and Bad Robot’s The Cellar, joining Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman. Dan Trachtenberg will direct the film, and J.J. Abrams will produce for Bad Robot. The story follows a woman who wakes up in a cellar following a serious car accident and fears she’s been taken. Her abductor tells her he saved her and that the outside world is unlivable due to a chemical attack. Despite the potential dangers, she decides she must escape. Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken wrote the original draft of the script. Dan Casey wrote the updated version. The film’s budget is about $5 million. [Variety]

• Dree Hemingway (While We’re Young) is joining Keith Stanfield in Happy People. The indie drama, which is being directed by Logan Sandler, tells the story of a couple who goes to a small Caribbean island after suffering a terrible loss. Thymaya Payne is writing and producing. Production kicks off next month. [Variety]

• Indian actor Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi) and actress Kangana Ranaut (Queen) are set to star in Divine Lovers. The film is an Indo-French co-production assembled by the French film commission, Film France. Hoping to qualify under an Indo-French co-production treaty, it is considering a wide release in France. Sai Kabir will direct the film, which explores the lower middle-class in the heartland of India. Leonard Glowinski will produce, as well as Khan alongside Shailesh R Singh. The film is expected to start filming in March across myriad locations in India. [THR]

• Basque actor Unax Ugalde (Lasa and Zabala) will star in the Mexican dramedy Beginners Guide to the Presidency. Salim Nayar will direct from a script he wrote. The film follows a governor who realizes he must become a politician, what he loathes most, in order to achieve the presidency. The film also stars Alec Von Bargen (Law and Order), Spain’s Carla Nieto (Angel o Demonio), and Mexico’s Alejandra Ambrosi (Hidden Moon). The film is the first of many projects under the Sfera Films banner led by Nayar and executive producer Jonathan Treisman in response to the growing demands of Latino markets. Beginners Guide to the Presidency is scheduled to begin shooting in February in and around Mexico City. [Variety]