Casting News: Kevin Costner Out of Django Unchained, Marisa Tomei in Us & Them, Whitney Houston to Sparkle, and More
09.16.11 by Ryan
In July, it seemed like Kevin Costner was unstoppable, having lined up high-profile roles in the upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel and director Quentin Tarantino's latest movie, Django Unchained.
Described as a "Southern" — blending together elements of the Western genre and exploitation movies — Django Unchained follows a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) who trains with a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) in order to reclaim his wife from a plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Coster was reportedly playing a "vile and sadistic trainer of slaves," a departure from his usual roles.
But according to a Tweet from Variety writer Justin Kroll, Costner is no longer involved.
And in another interesting piece of casting news, Kevin Costner has had to pass on DJANGO UNCHAINED due to scheduling conflicts
Prior to the Costner news came word of another actor joining the Django cast. Variety reports that Gerald McRaney (The A-Team, Major Dad), is in negotiations for an unspecified role. McRaney joins a cast that also includes Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson. Django Unchained opens December 25, 2012.
Variety reports that Marisa Tomei is keeping her hot streak going — the Academy Award–winning actress has appeared in three movies so far this year (The Lincoln Lawyer, Salvation Boulevard, and Crazy, Stupid, Love) with a fourth (The Ides of March) on the way. Tomei is joining the family comedy Us & Them from director Andy Fickman (You Again).
The movie follows Billy Crystal and Bette Midler as two grandparents, who are left in charge of the grandkids they're struggling to forge a bond with. Tomei will play their estranged daughter, and Bailee Madison (Don't Be Afraid of the Dark) will play one of the grandchildren.
Us & Them is a reunion of sorts for Crystal and his City Slickers and Mr. Saturday Night screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babloo Mandel. Production begins later this month in Atlanta.
After making her debut with Kevin Costner in 1992's The Bodyguard, Whitney Houston's last movie role was in 1996's The Preacher's Wife. Now the singer/actress will make her return to the big screen in a remake of the 1976 musical Sparkle.
Like Dreamgirls, Sparkle was loosely based on the success of the Supremes as it followed the three Williams sisters and their rise to fame beginning in the late 1950s. Of course, fame brings fortune and a load of problems. THR reports that American Idol winner Jordin Sparks will make her acting debut as the title character, while Houston will play the sisters' not-so-encouraging mother. Mike Epps (Jumping the Broom) plays stand-up comedian Satin, who marries one of the sisters and gets her addicted to drugs.
The remake of Sparkle was written by Mara Brock Akil (BET's The Game). Her husband, Salim Akil (Jumping the Broom), will direct. Houston will executive produce.
Isla Fisher is currently playing the tragic role of Myrtle in director Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby, but her next role will see her portraying a thieving magician.
Variety reports that Fisher is in negotiations to take over for Amanda Seyfried in Now You See Me, which follows a team of FBI agents hunting down the Four Horsemen, a group of master illusionists who pull off bank heists. Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers) will play the lead FBI agent, with Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland) playing the "arrogant yet brilliant" leader of the Four Horsemen. Seyfried was negotiating to play Henley, a master technician who builds the contraptions the illusionists use in their heists, but her deal never went through, opening the door for Fisher.
Fisher joins a cast that also includes Morgan Freeman, cast last month as an ex-magician that has been shunned from the world of magic, and Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds), cast as a federal agent, albeit one with a French accent.
Written by Boaz Yakin (Safe) and Edward Ricourt (Year 12), Now You See Me will be directed by Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans, The Incredible Hulk).
Everyone can relax because MacGruber is joining the Neighborhood Watch.
THR reports that Will Forte, the Saturday Night Live alumn and star of the MacGruber spin-off, has joined the upcoming comedy, which stars Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, and Vince Vaughn as dads that start a neighborhood watch group in order to have an excuse to hang out together... then end up discovering a plot to destroy the world. No details were given about Forte's character, other than the character's name — Sergeant Bressman.
Written by Superbad's Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Neighborhood Watch will be directed by Akiva Schaffer (Hot Rod). Chris Tucker is also reportedly eying a role in the movie, and Rosemarie DeWitt (AMC's Mad Men) is set to co-star as Stiller's wife.