For this edition of our casting roundup, we’ve got news on three upcoming films – one of them a new spy thriller, one a sequel, the other a remake – that have unveiled their troupes.
First, Deadline has revealed that Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, and Lupita Nyong’o are playing international spies in 355, an action thriller in the vein of such spy series as The Bourne Identity, Mission: Impossible, and James Bond.
355 is about a group of secret agents from around the world that must to stop a global organization from acquiring a weapon that could plunge Earth into chaos and darkness – you know, standard evil-doing. In order to save the world – you know, standard secret agent stuff – the spies must overcome their cultural and political differences and find a way to work together and become a team.
Simon Kinberg is directing a script by Theresa Rebeck. The film is based on an idea that Chastain pitched to Kinberg, who had just directed the actress in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Chastain told Deadline that she’d been keen to work on a female ensemble film for a while and was also interested in making something in the spy genre. “I love the Bourne movies, the Mission: Impossible films, and wondered why, except for Charlie’s Angels, there hadn’t been a true female ensemble action-thriller spy film,” she said. “That got my wheels going, along with the idea of casting actresses from all over the world to truly make it an international project. I brought the idea to Simon, told him about the actresses I was thinking of, and he was so sweet. He said, ‘I want to do it with you.’”
Added Chastain: “The action genre has long been dominated by male heroes, and it’s so exciting to be part of a film that will allow for not just one female action hero but a whole ensemble of very capable, fierce female characters that reject tired stereotypes.”
This news comes off the heels of the announcement that Nyong’o has also signed on to star in a remake of John Woo’s 1989 classic film The Killer (that Woo himself will return to direct).
Next up, since Happy Death Day made nearly $123 million globally, it’s not surprising that we’re feeling deja-vu... er, getting a sequel to the horror film version of Groundhog Day (which is really becoming its own genre).
Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard are returning to Happy Death Day 2 to reprise their original roles from the orignal, while Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi, Homeland) and Sarah Yarkin (American Horror Story) have joined the cast, according to Deadline.
In the first film, sorority sister Tree Gelbman (Rothe) relives the day of her murder (which is also her birthday) over and over again. To break free from the never-ending time loop, she needs to figure out who her killer is, with the help of Carter (Broussard), the guy with whom she begins each day. Apparently, the sequel will pick up where the first film left off and explain the endless time loop.
Sharma is playing Samar Ghosh, a science enthusiast and geek who enjoys coding in his spare time. Yarkin, meanwhile, is playing Dre Morgan, a science geek and Samar’s partner-in-crime (whatever that means).
Christopher Landon is directing. Production begins on May 10, May 10, and again on May 10 (oh dear God...).
Finally, Jacki Weaver, Betty Gilpin, William Sadler (pictured above), and Frankie Faison are joining the cast of The Grudge remake, according to Deadline (again). The actors join previously-announced cast members Andrea Riseborough, Demian Bichir, John Cho, and Lin Shaye.
Nicolas Pesce is directing what Sony is calling a “reimagining” of the 2004 version, which is itself based on the 2002 Japanese original Ju-on, which starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as a nurse in Tokyo afflicted by a curse that comes to life whenever someone dies in extreme sorrow or rage.
Filming is scheduled to begin in May.