Casting News: Ben Affleck Casts Himself; Nicole Kidman Replaces Sofia Vergara; David Strathairn Pals with Lincoln
06.28.11 by Ryan
Ben Affleck is becoming as comfortable behind the camera as he is in front of it. Having decided only to direct 2007's Gone Baby Gone, Affleck signed himself up for acting duties as well on last year's highly lauded, and commercially successful The Town.
With the political thriller Argo, it seemed like Affleck was just in director mode again, first casting Alan Arkin and, later, John Goodman. Now Variety reports Affleck has cast himself in the lead role of CIA exfiltration expert Tony Mendez, the man behind the plan to pose as a fake Hollywood movie in order to rescue six American hostages trapped in the Canadian embassy in Iran. As they say in Hollywood, it's all about who you know.
Chris Terrio (Heights) wrote the screenplay, based on the 2007 Wired article "How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran". Arkin plays a Hollywood producer named Lester Siegel, while Goodman plays makeup artist John Chambers, who won an Academy Award for his work on the Planet of the Apes series.
Director Lee Daniels received an Oscar nomination for his work on 2009's Precious, but his follow-up, the sexy thriller The Paperboy, isn't going as smoothly.
With a cast headlined by Tobey Maguire, Matthre McConaughey, Zac Efron, and Sofia Vergara, the troubles began when Maguire dropped out of the project, thus delaying the movie's late summer production start. The delay meant Vergara couldn't act in the movie and make her Modern Family schedule, so she was forced to drop out as well. Nicole Kidman could take Vergara's place, THR reports.
McConaughey is still on board to play a reporter investigating a murder in order to possibly allow a death row inmate to go free. Kidman plays a mysterious woman who writes letters to inmates and brings the case to McConaughey's attention. Efron is also still on the project as well.
Steven Spielberg is putting together an enormous cast for his upcoming historical drama, Lincoln, which follows the former 16th President of the United States and his struggles with his cabinet.
With Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field already cast as Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, a large part of the supporting cast was put together in May. Tommy Lee Jones is set to play Pennsylvania congressman Thaddeus Stevens, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will play Robert Todd, Lincoln's oldest son. Hal Holbrook (Water for Elephants), James Spader (Stargate), John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Tim Blake Nelson (The Incredible Hulk), Bruce McGill (Law Abiding Citizen), and Joseph Cross (Milk) have been cast in unspecified roles.
The latest casting addition is Oscar-nominated actor David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck) in the role of Lincoln’s Secretary of State William Seward. "Throughout his career, David Strathairn has consistently delivered performances of strength and character," said Spielberg in the press release. "That's why I am so pleased that he will portray the Secretary of State, who became such a dominant figure in Lincoln's 'team of rivals' cabinet."
Lincoln is based on Doris Kearns' best-selling book, Team of Rivals, with Spielberg's Munich screenwriter Tony Kushner. Shooting is expected to begin this fall for a late 2012 release.