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Casting Net: Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn to star in 'Blackbird'

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• Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn are set to star in Blackbird. Theatrical director Benedict Andrews will make his feature directorial debut. David Harrower adapted the script from his play of the same name. The story catches up with two people who had a passionate affair 15 years prior; one has created a new life, while the other is seeking answers. The film will shoot in the U.K. next summer. [Deadline]

• Naomi Watts, whose recent films include Birdman and St. Vincent, will star in the indie drama Shut In. Farren Blackburn is directing from a script by Christina Hodson. The film will shoot in Europe in 2015. [THR]

• Ella Purnell and Asa Butterfield are in talks for Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Based on a Ransom Riggs novel, the story follows a teenager who winds up on island where he defends a group of orphans with special powers from creatures out to get them. Eva Green stars as the title character who cares for the orphans. [Variety]

• Unbroken’s Jack O’Connell has claimed the lead in Don Quixote. The film from Terry Gilliam is based on the classic novel by Miguel de Cervantes. With Tony Grisoni as its screenwriter, the story follows a commercials director named Toby (O’Connell) who goes to Spain. He comes across a student film—a re-working of Don Quixote—and goes in search of the village where it was filmed. The film is eyeing a May 2016 release. [Variety]

• Teen Beach Movie’s Ross Lynch is attached to star in an untitled comedy from 17 Again writer Jason Filardi. Plot details are unknown at this time, but The Hollywood Reporter’s sources describe it as “a high-concept supernatural comedy that takes place in a New England high school.” [THR]