The deals have been inked for Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, and Sam Shepard to join the crime thriller Out of the Furnace. Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper wrote and will direct Furnace, which follows two brothers from the Rust Belt. Bale’s Russell Baze is sent to prison, leaving younger brother Rodney (Affleck) to fall in with a violent gang to devastating consequences. When Russell is released from prison, he must choose between retribution and freedom.

“This is a meaty script with characters as strong as they are complex, and we needed powerhouse actors who complement the story,” said Tucker Tooley, co-president of the film’s distributor Relativity Media. “Christian, Casey, Zoe, and Sam each approach everything they do with heart and conviction. We can’t wait to see what each of them brings to this film.”

Saldana plays Bale’s love interest, and Shepard plays the Baze brothers’ uncle. Furnace begins production in Pennsylvania later this month.

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