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Casting Net: Mark Rylance to play BFG in Spielberg adaptation

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Mark Rylance
Walter McBride/Getty Images

• Mark Rylance will play the title role in The BFG, director Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel. The story follows a young girl, the Queen of England, and a giant, called the BFG, who set out to capture the evil, man-eating giants who are taking over the human world. DreamWorks acquired the book in 2010. Melissa Mathison adapted it for the screen. Spielberg, Frank Marshall, and Sam Mercer are producing. Kathleen Kennedy will executive produce with John Madden and Michael Siegel. Kristie Macosko Krieger and Adam Somner are co-producers. Disney will release the film on July 1, 2016 in the U.S. Disney’s financier Reliance will release in India and Mister Smith will distribute in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. [Deadline]

• Michael Nyqvist (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) is joining Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl in Florian Gallenberger’s Colonia. Inspired by true events, the thriller follows Daniel (Brühl) and Lena (Watson) during the Chilean military coup of 1973. Lena tracks Daniel to Colonia Dignidad after he is abducted by Pinochet’s secret police. The area is run by a preacher (Nyqvist), but it is not the charitable mission it represents itself to be—Lena soon joins its cult to find Daniel. Richenda Carey (Separate Lies), Vicky Krieps (A Most Wanted Man), August Zirner (The Counterfeiters), and Martin Wuttke (Inglourious Basterds) also joined the cast. Colonia is a Majestic production with Iris Productions and Rat Pack Filmproduktion in association with ProSieben and Sky. The film is set for an October 2015 release. [Deadline]

• Oliver Platt, Molly Parker, Barbara Hershey, and Aiden Longworth have been cast in The 9th Life of Louis Drax. Alexandre Aja (Horns) is directing the film for Miramax, AntColony Films, and Brightlight Pictures. It already stars Jamie Dornan, Aaron Paul, and Sarah Gadon. Platt (Chef) will play Dr. Perez, psychologist to Louis. Parker (House of Cards) will take the part of Detective Dalton. Hershey (Black Swan) will play Violet, Louis’ grandmother with Longworth (A Christmas Story 2) in the titular role of Louis. Based on Liz Jensen’s novel, the film follows Louis on his 9th birthday as he survives a near-fatal fall. When his father (Paul) comes under suspicion, Allan Pascal (Dornan)—Louis’ doctor who is torn between his professional responsibility and his interest in Louis’ mother (Gadon)—realizes there might be other mysterious forces at work. Tim Bricknell and Minghella of AntColony Films, Shawn Williamson of Brightlight Pictures and Aja are producing. Rosanne Korenberg is executive producing. Brightlight Pictures will distribute the film in Canada with Miramax distributing throughout the rest of the world. Sierra/Affinity is selling internationally. Zanne, Devine, EVP, Production and Development, is overseeing the film for Miramax. [Deadline]

• Greig Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty) has signed on as cinematographer for Gareth Edwards’ standalone Star Wars movie. Gary Whitta is writing the script, but the plot is unknown at this time. Fraser revealed that there is a working title, though he didn’t offer it up. Fraser’s upcoming works include Foxcatcher and The Gambler. The Star Wars standalone arrives December 16, 2016. [AV Club] [HitFix]

• Sage Correa, Lew Temple, and Chris McGinn are joining Halle Berry in Luis Prieto‘s Kidnap, EW has confirmed. The film follows a mother (Berry) who will stop at nothing to rescue her kidnapped son. It’s based on Knate Gwaltney’s screenplay. Di Bonaventuara Pictures’ Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Erik Howsam, Gold Star Films’ Joey Tufaro, and Gregory Chou of Rumble Entertainment are producing. Berry will executive produce along with her producing parthener Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas through their 606 Films production banner. Lotus Entertainment’s Bill Johnson, Jim Seibel, D.J. Gugenheim, and Ara Keshishian will also executive produce, alongside Gold Star Films’ Colin Bates and Todd Trosclair, Gwaltney, and Doris Pfardrescher of Well Go USA. The film is in principal photography.

• Randy Orton will star in WWE Studios’ The Condemned 2: Desert Prey. Roel Reine is directing from a script by Alan McElroy. The film follows a bounty hunter on the run as the result of a revamped Condemned tournament, which forces convicts to fight to the death and is broadcast to the public. Lionsgate will co-produce and distribute the film, which will start production in New Mexico later this year. [Variety]