The next wave of Hollywood film projects are finalizing their casts before Christmas. Studios and agents are scrambling to find stars to fill some of the most coveted roles of 2011 and 2012. A project I am looking most forward to is the announcement of a new Great Gatsby, which will be directed and written by Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet). It has been announced that Luhrman will be teaming back up with Leonardo DiCaprio for the part of Gatsby. DiCaprio is the most premiere actor in Hollywood today and I believe he will absolutely kill the role. There were rumors of Brad Pitt taking the role, but I feel like DiCaprio will bring more emotion and depth to the part.
The part of Nick Caraway has reportedly been given to Tobey Maguire. Maguire, who has never been able to really break out from being thought of as just Spiderman, now has a chance for a big time role. Both actors look the part of Gatsby and Caraway, respectively. As for the main love interest, Daisy, the studio is deciding between Rebecca Hall, Amanda Seyfried, Kiera Knightly and Abbie Cornish. While Kiera Knightly is the biggest name on the shortlist, I see the studio going with Amanda Seyfried. The part of Daisy needs to be a ditzy yet psychotic blonde. Seyfried has proven that she can play this role and I see her breaking out next year in her adaptation of Red Riding Hood.
In other casting news, Emma Stone (Superbad, Zombieland, Easy A) has been cast as the love interest in the new Spiderman starring Andrew Garfield. Stone, who is known for her sarcastic humor and hot red hair, will do a better job than the boring Kristen Dunst did.
Excitingly, the cast of The Hangover Part II is set. Every character from the original is back (including Mike Tyson) and there is an addition of Liam Neeson (Taken). The studio has been quiet about what Neeson will be doing in the film, but the actor told reporters the part will be similar to Tyson’s in the original.
Similarly, the entire cast of Ghostbusters 3 has been announced. Directed and written by Ivan Reitman, there are little surprises in the cast. The film will star Harold Ramis, Billy Murray, Dan Akryod, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and a rumored Anna Farris. The project has been in the works for over a decade, and I am excited to see what the old crew can do with the new CG graphics that they did not have 20 years ago.
Another project I am very excited about is the upcoming biopic of Harry Houdini. It was announced that after he finished Wolverine 2, Hugh Jackman will be putting on the black top-hat and play the world’s most famous magician. This is a perfect casting. Jackman played a magician in Nolan’s film The Prestige (which is one of my favorite films), and he looks like Houdini. The supporting cast has yet to be announced, but rumors of Nicole Kidman as Houdini’s love interest are spiraling around Hollywood.
In the last and most exciting piece of Hollywood news, Christopher Nolan’s newest Batman now has a title: The Dark Knight Rises. The usual suspects have all signed on (Bale, Freeman, Oldman and Caine), but Hollywood is eagerly waiting to see who Nolan will select as his villain and Bruce Wayne’s love interest. Reports sprung up on Monday morning that Vera Farminga (Up in the Air, The Departed) has been contacted by Nolan to read for the part of Wayne’s love interest. Rumors have also spread that Tom Hardy (Inception) and Eddie Murphy have both been contacted to play the villain in the film. Hardy was fantastic as Eames in Inception and has a slew of movies coming out next year that could elevate him to superstar status by the time The Dark Knight Rises opens. Nolan loves Hardy and claims that he was one of the key factors to Inception’s success. While Eddie Murphy has denied that Nolan has contacted him, Batman fans have been urging for over a decade that Murphy would be a perfect Riddler. Whoever Nolan picks, Hollywood will be excited for what will surely be the most anticipated movie of 2011.