Casting Net: Penelope Cruz signs on for 'Zoolander 2'
• Penelope Cruz will star opposite Ben Stiller in Zoolander 2. Stiller is directing from a script by Justin Theroux, and will produce alongside Stuart Cornfeld for Red Hour. Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson are rumored to be reprising their roles as Mugatu and Hansel, respectively. [Deadline]
• Mel Gibson and Andrew Garfield are in talks for the World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge. Gibson would direct the film with Garfield in the role of Private First Class Desmond T. Doss, a war hero who won the Congressional Medal of Honor, two Bronze Stars, and three Purple Hearts. Doss saved 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa, and gained notoriety for refusing to kill or carry a weapon based on religious grounds. The film has been in the making for more than 13 years. [THR]
• Jon Voight will play college football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant in Woodlawn. Jon and Andrew Erwin are directing the indie high school football movie from a script by Jon Erwin and Quinton Peeples. Set in the 1973-74 season at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, the film follows African-American player Tony Nathan throughout the forced integration of Alabama’s public high schools. It will focus on the 1974 Banks vs. Woodlawn game. After being recruited by Bryant, Nathan played for the University of Alabama and went on to have a successful professional career. The cast also includes Nic Bishop as Woodlawn coach Tandy Gerelds, Sean Astin as the team’s counselor and mascot Hank Erwin, C. Thomas Howell as rival coach George “Shorty” White, Sherri Shepherd as Nathan’s mother, Lance Nichols as Nathan’s father, Caleb Castille as Nathan, and Richard Kohnke as rival quarterback Jeff Rutledge. [Variety]
• Hot off his turn in John Wick, Keanu Reeves is reportedly in talks for the lead role in Tarsem Singh’s action-thriller The Panopticon. The story follows an average Joe who receives a pre-recorded message from himself, explaining that only he can save the world from its eminent end. He must, subsequently, uncover the mystery, and save the human race. Craig Rosenberg wrote the script. [The Wrap]
• Real-life Broadway star Taye Diggs is joining Topher Grace in the backstage musical comedy One Shot. The story stars Grace as a failed actor who turns to stage managing. Diggs will play Malcolm, a member of the production Grace’s character is managing that’s in desperate need of saving. Isaac Rentz is directing the film. Gerry De Leon and Greg Lisi wrote the script. [Deadline]
• Djimon Honsou is in negotiations for Knights of the Round Table. Guy Ritchie is directing the film, which stars Charlie Hunnam as King Arthur and Astrid Berges-Frisbey as Guinevere. Honsou is up for the part of Arthur’s mentor, for which Idris Elba had previously been considered. It was announced yesterday that Jude Law is also in talks for the film; he’s eyeing the villain role. Joby Harold wrote the script for the film, whose plot details are unknown at this time. The film opens July 22, 2016. [Variety]
• Sanaa Lathan will play FBI agent Natalie Austin in Now You See Me 2. The magician caper will see the return of original cast members: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. It will also get a boost from newcomers Lizzy Caplan, Jay Chou, and Daniel Radcliffe. The story catches up with the magician troupe, the Four Horsemen, a year later. This time, there’s a new dangerous heist and a new enemy at the center of it all. Jon M. Chu is directing the feature, which begins filming on Dec. 1 in the U.K. Pete Chiarelli and Ed Solomon wrote the script, based on characters by Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt. The film is scheduled for a June 10, 2016 release. [Deadline]