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Casting Net: William Hurt joins ensemble of Jesse Owens biopic 'Race'

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• Oscar winner William Hurt has joined the ensemble of Race, the Jesse Owens biopic starring Stephan James (When the Game Stands Tall) as the legendary track and field star. Hurt will play the president of the Amateur Athletic Union Jeremiah Mahoney, who led efforts to boycott the 1936 Olympics in Berlin against Hitler. Emmy winner Stephen Hopkins (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers) is directing the production currently filming in Montreal and on location at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. In addition to James, Hurt joins Jeremy Irons as future International Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage, Jason Sudeikis as OSU track coach Larry Snyder and Carice van Houten as German director Leni Riefenstahl. The film was written by Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel (Frankie and Alice) and will be released by Focus Features on April 8, 2016. [The Wrap]

• Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies) may end up being The Choice opposite Benjamin Walker in the adaptation of the 2007 Nicholas Sparks novel. Ross Katz (Adult Beginners) is directing the film about a small-town couple and the ups and downs of their decade-long relationship, which was adapted for the screen by Bryan Sipe. [THR]

• Mud star Jacob Lofland has landed a pivotal role in the sequel Maze Runner: Scorch Trials. Already in pre-production, Wes Ball will once again direct for Fox with returning stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario and Thomas Brodie-Sangster and newcomers to the franchise Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones) and Rosa Salazar (Parenthood). Lofland will play Aris Jones, a character with a significant connection to the maze and the people who built it. [THR]

• Diane Kruger has been cast in two upcoming indie films. First, The Bridge actress will star in Maryland from French director Alice Winocour (Augustine) about a former soldier suffering from PTSD who is hired by a wealthy Lebanese businessman to protect his family while he’s away. Next, Kruger will reunite with her Frankie director Fabienne Berthaud for Sky, playing a woman reawaken on a solitary journey around the world. The film will mark the first English-language collaboration between the two women. [Deadline]