Mark Von Holden/; Steve Granitz/
EW Staff
December 19, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

(FROM HOLLYWOOD REPORTER) ? Casting changes continue for the Kevin Macdonald-directed drama State of Play as Edward Norton has stepped down from the Universal/Working Title project and been replaced by Ben Affleck. The swap comes less than a month after Brad Pitt’s high-profile exit over script concerns. Russell Crowe quickly stepped in to replace Pitt, and the production start date was pushed from November to January. That change caused scheduling conflicts for Norton, however, who is set to produce and star in the indie comedy Leaves of Grass, which is being directed by Tim Blake Nelson. Affleck has now stepped in to take over Norton’s role of an ambitious politician who finds himself engrossed in a murder conspiracy. Crowe plays a politico-turned-journalist investigating the story. The cast also includes Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, and Jason Bateman. (Hollywood Reporter)

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