• Jude Law (Anna Karenina) has joined the cast of Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, co-starring Naomi Watts and Rob Pattinson, announced Sierra/Affinity, which will handle international sales of the film, on Friday. The period biopic written and directed by Herzog revolves around writer, archaeologist and British Empire attaché Gertrude Bell (Watts), and T.E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia (Pattinson). Principal photography is set to start in Morocco in March 2013.
• Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses, Arrested Development) will star in his own directorial debut Bad Words alongside Allison Janney, Kathryn Hahn (Our Idiot Brother), Rohan Chandz (Jack and Jill), and Melissa McCarthy’s hubby and Bridesmaids lust object Ben Falcone, about 41-year-old high school dropout Guy Trilby (Bateman) who, through a loophole, is able to enter the National Quill Spelling Bee and is hit with the outrage of the spelling contest’s director (Janney), according to a press release Friday. Guy advances to the nationals, where he meets a contestant hopeful (Chandz). Andrew Dodge penned the original script.
• Kim Basinger has joined the aging fight comedy Grudge Match, about two boxers (Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro) who come out of retirement to go head-to-head for one last match. Pete Segel will direct from a script by Tim Kelleher that was spruced up by Entourage creator Doug Ellin. Let the bloody brawl begin! [Variety]
• Nick Nolte, Jeremy Irons and Thomas Jane (Hung) will headline thriller Western indie Magnificent Death From a Shattered Hand, with Jane directing from his own script co-written by Jose Prendes. The movie is about a man’s journey through the violent West, which includes an ex-soldier being sought for the rape-murder of an upper class woman. [Variety]
• Saoirse Ronan (The Host, Hanna), always adding a dash of sharpness to any project, has signed on to star in Wes Anderson’s highly anticipated The Grand Budapest Hotel, with longtime Anderson muses Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, plus Ralph Fiennes and Owen Wilson, also attached. Details are still cloudy, but the movie is reportedly set in a Hungarian hotel. Anderson, who snagged accolades for this year’s sweet, funny coming-of-age Moonrise Kingdom, is directing from his own script. [Variety]
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