Casting Catch-Up: Tom Hardy, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones, Lily Collins & More!

(Written for BritScene)

Some very interesting casting news this week, including Tom Hardy taking on his first project under his new Executive Options banner and Colin Salmon and Theo James joining a couple of interesting new TV pilots. If that’s not enough to entice you to read more, then you can also find out about the ongoings of David Oyelowo, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones, and Lily Collins too, who are joining some really great upcoming films such as Writers, Serena and The Butler.

David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is to join the cast of Lee Daniels‘ period drama, The Butler, alongside Oscar winner Forest Whitaker as the lead and possibly Oprah Winfrey. The film tells the story of Eugene Allen, a black man who served as the White House butler under eight US Presidents from 1952 to 1986. Like Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln which Oyelowo also stars in, will star a number of cameos as the famous figures who come in and out of the White House, with possible appearances from British comedian John Cusack, as well as Mila Kunis and Hugh Jackman. The film is planned to begin production this summer, and we will next see Oyelowo in another of Daniels’ films, The Paperboy, opposite Tom Cruise later this year.

No longer starring in the Evil Dead reboot and in talks to star in the Romeo and Juliet spin-off, Rosaline. Lily Collins has this week signed on to join Logan Lerman and Kristen Bell in Josh Boone’s directorial debut, comedy-drama Writers, which begins filming this week. Directed by Michael Sucsy, Michael H Weber and Scott Neustader have adapted the script from Rebecca Serles’ novel, which already stars Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly as a famous novelist and the ex-wife he’s obsessed with. Collins is set to play their college-aged daughter who finds herself the subject of a romantic obsession with a fellow student played by Lerman. Also featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger’s teenage child Patrick and a cameo of author Stephen King, Collins will next be seen playing Snow White in this year’s Disney reimagination, Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White, which is set to be released on 30th March.

Downton Abbey‘s Theo James has been confirmed to be replacing Ryan Phillippe in CBS drama pilot Golden Boy, where he will star as Clark, a man who goes from being a cop to working as a detective and ultimately a police commissioner. Phillippe left the project last month due to concerns about committing to a network drama series, prompting a lengthy auditioning process which James has now been cast for. As well as starring as Kemal Pamuk in the British series of Downtown Abbey, James also starred in this year’s Underworld: Awakening alongside British actress Kate Beckinsale.

Colin Salmon has also joined the cast of a series pilot this week, this time for The CW’s Arrow. The series is a superhero drama based on Green Arrow, for which Salmon play Walter Steele, a former business associate of the late Robert Queen and the No. 2 at Queen Consolidated in the original comics. Best known for his role as Charles Robinson in the Pierce Brosnan era of the James Bond films, Salmon will appear alongside lead actor Stephen Amell in the pilot helmed by Game of Thrones director David Nutter. Based on a script by Green Lantern scribes Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim, Arrow also will also star Colin Donnell, David Ramsey, Susanna Thompson and Willa Holland.

Having wrapped up Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, in which he plays Batman’s powerful enemy Bane, Tom Hardy (This Means War) is looking to produce and star in his first project under his new Executive Options banner, an untitled project that focuses on a wounded Vietnam war veteran returning home to San Francisco in 1969. The film will be a period piece in which Hardy’s character emerges as the leader of California’s most violent outlaw biker gang, clashing the cultures of the Haight-Ashbury district. For his first project, Hardy is partnering with Linson Entertainment producers Art Linson and John Linson for the original script which, written by Mark L. Smith (Vacancy), is based on an original idea from John Linson. With The Dark Knight Rises set to be released on 20th July, Hardy is also starring in John Hillcoat’s The Wettest County, which is set to be released on 31st August.

Rhys Ifans (Anonymous) and Toby Jones (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) have signed up to Susanne Bier‘s empire thriller, Serena. Adapted from the New York Times best-selling Ron Rash novel, the film follows George (Bradley Cooper) and Serena Pemberton (Jennifer Lawrence), a 1930s newlywed couple who travel to North Carolina to seize control of the timber industry. Infidelity and infertility leads Serena to plot the murder of George’s illegitimate son while attempting to keep their timber land from being taken by the government. Ifans is in talks to play Galloway, a cutthroat guide in the Appalachian wilds who becomes Serena’s right-hand man after she saves his life whilst Jones will play a character on the other side of the law in the form of Sheriff McDowell. Ifans can next be seen as Dr. Curt Connors, aka The Lizard, in this summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man, which is set to be released on 3rd July, and Jones has a small role in The Hunger Games in which Lawrence leads, which is set to be released later this month on 23rd March.

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