Casting Net: Hugh Jackman to star in 'Apostle Paul,' Stephen Amell cast in 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2'
Hugh Jackman has been tapped to star in and produce the biblical period drama Apostle Paul for Warner Bros. The star will join producers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on the project, with a screenplay being penned by Matt Cook (Triple Nine). Paul, also known as Saul of Tarsus, was not one of the original 12 apostles and was actually devoted to persecuting the disciples of Jesus in Jerusalem. The Bible tells the story of Paul’s journey on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, during which the resurrected Jesus appeared to him in a bright light from heaven. Paul was struck blind, but his sight was soon restored and he began to preach the word of Christ. Fourteen of the 27 books in the New Testament are traditionally attributed to Paul and as an apostle of Jesus he founded many churches in his name. [Deadline]
Arrow star Stephen Amell has been cast as Casey Jones in Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. Amell will portray the loner who becomes the turtles ally, as well as the love interest for Megan Fox’s returning character, April O’Neil. Will Arnett will also be back for the sequel, with David Green directing and Michael Bay producing. The plot of the film has not been released. Amell and a half-dozen other actors tested over the weekend, but his chemistry with Fox landed him the role. [Variety]
Christopher Walken is joining Kevin Spacey in the high-concept comedy Nine Lives, in which a workaholic (Spacey) must find a way to redeem himself after a terrible accident leaves him trapped inside the body of his family’s cat. Walken will play Felix Grant, the owner of a magical pet shop, who assists the businessman when he is in cat form. Walken has also joined Fox’s Eddie The Eagle which is about the true story of Britain’s first Olympic ski jumper, Michael Edwards (Taron Egerton). Edwards came in last place in two events at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and became the poster boy for never-say-die competitors. Walken will play mentor to Hugh Jackman’s character, who coaches Edwards. [Deadline]
Ansel Elgort will be starring in Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. The movie is about a young getaway driver who “relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game.” After he is coerced into working with a crime boss he has to deal with the threat of a doomed heist. [Variety]
Rachel Weisz (The Light Between Oceans) is in talks to co-star with Colin Firth in the untitled Donald Crowhurst biopic. The film, directed by James Marsh, is based on the true story of the amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst and his attempt to win the first round of the World Yacht Race in 1968. The film is looking to begin shooting this spring. [Deadline]
Stephen Dorff will be playing the lead role Hartman in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel Leatherface. The film will center around a violent teen who one day will become the murderer Leatherface. He escapes from a mental hospital with three other patients, kidnaps a young nurse and takes her on a terrifying road trip. They are pursued by a deranged lawman who is out for revenge. [Deadline]
Charles Baker (Breaking Bad) has joined the horror film The Neon Demon, whose cast includes Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Jena Malone and Keanu Reeves. The film is described as a female-driven horror that follows an aspiring model who finds herself in a terrifying predicament that threatens her life. The film has started shooting in L.A. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Tyler Ross, Lauren Velez, Reno Wilson and Bruno Gunn have all joined Kim Coates in the indie pic Officer Downe, a live-action adaptation of Joe Casey and Chris Burnham‘s graphic novel. Drummer and co-founder of Slipknot, M. Shawn Crahan will make his first attempt at directing with this film about an L.A. supercop who is continuously killed in the line of duty, then routinely resurrected and sent back out onto the streets.