Malificent

Casting roundup: a pair of Disney films and a pair of horror films find actors

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May 3, 2018

Rarely do genres and companies have such a bad match as Disney and horror, but today, despite the best intentions of both, they’ve found common ground. Two movies from both have landed some big-name actors for their projects (some of which are also in big roles), so the future will have a delightful bit of counterprogramming whether you’re tired of being spooked or tired of too much schmaltz.

First, let’s go for the family-friendly side of things. Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson’s adventure adaptation of the Disneyland ride Jungle Cruise has found its “crusty harbormaster” in Paul Giamatti, according to The Hollywood Reporter. As Johnson’s boat captain searches for a magical tree, he’ll need a little crust to counterbalance his shiny smoothness.

On the darker side of Disney fare, Maleficent 2 has found its replacement prince for Brenton Thwaites (who’s busy being Robin in the Titans TV show) in Beach Rats breakout star Harris Dickinson. Dickinson is currently starring as the kidnap victim in Trust but, according to Variety, will soon be romancing Elle Fanning in the Sleeping Beauty reimagining.

Now, on to the real dark stuff. Deadline has the details on casting for both Becoming, a horror thriller about a dark force that infects and transforms regular people on a road trip, and a yet-to-be-titled film from Chernobyl Diaries director Brad Parker that is about another mysterious force -- this time inside an Appalachian sinkhole.

Becoming added The Vampire Diaries’ Penelope Mitchell as a co-star to Toby Kebbell and Jason Patric in a supporting role as a survivor of the monster’s attacks. Parker’s film added a slew of actors in its first major casting announcement, naming Will Patton, Alicia Sanz, Adan Canto, and Zach Avery as stars. Patton, the most veteran of the actors, you’ll know from Remember the Titans and Armageddon. The skills he developed helping those teams may come into play as the new film goes on a geological expedition into that haunted hole.