By Lindsey Bahr
August 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT
Mituna Thaharnhern

Ong-bak star and martial arts expert Tony Jaa is in talks to make his English-language and studio film debut in James Wan’s Fast and Furious 7.  He’ll be joining the large returning ensemble that includes Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Tyrese, and Paul Walker. Chris Morgan, who penned the first, fifth, and sixth movies, is currently working on the script, but there’s no word on the character Jaa will be portraying. This seventh installment of the franchise is being fast-tracked for a July 11, 2014 release. [THR]

Secret Life of the American Teenager alum Austin Stowell will play a champion drummer and rival to Miles Teller’s character in writer-director Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, based on his Sundance-winning short. J.K. Simmons stars as a merciless instructor at an elite conservatory, and Paul Reiser is set to play Teller’s father. Stowell will also be reprising his role in Dolphin Tale 2, likely alongside the first installment’s stars Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson, and Ashley Judd. [THR]

• Neill Blomkamp is proving to be a loyal director to his actors — and not just to his longtime friend Sharlto Copley. He’s cast Elysium actor Jose Pablo Cantillo (The Walking Dead) in his robot pic Chappie to play a gangster named Yankie. [THR]

Inbetweeners regular Henry Lloyd-Hughes has joined Madame Bovary to play the titular character’s husband opposite Mia Wasikowska. Ezra Miller, Paul Giamatti, and Rhys Ifans also star in the Sophia Barthes-directed pic. [Deadline]

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