Casting Net: Jeff Daniels in talks for Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' | EW.com

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Casting Net: Jeff Daniels in talks for Ridley Scott's 'The Martian'

JEFF DANIELS

(Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

• Another big name has been launched into consideration for Ridley Scott’s sci-fi film The Martian. Emmy winner Jeff Daniels is the latest actor in talks to join Matt Damon in the movie about a stranded astronaut struggling to survive. Daniels would play the NASA director dealing with the crisis back on Earth. Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig and Kate Mara may also star in the film written by Drew Goddard (World War Z) and adapted from the self-published book of the same name by Andy Weir. [THR]

• Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, Fred Armisen, Ron Livingston, and Clea DuVall have signed on for Fresno, joining its stars Judy Greer and Natasha Lyonne. The comedy, from Jamie Babbit, follows two sisters who work as hotel maids in Fresno. Gamechanger Films is financing in association with Leeden Media, Lakeview Productions, and TALU Productions. Mynette Louie, Julie Parker Benello, Dan Cogan, Geralyn Dreyfous, and Wendy Ettinger are executive producing. [Variety]

• Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden will face off against Idris Elba in the action-thriller Bastille Day. Written by Andrew Baldwin, the film follows a rogue U.S. CIA operative forced to make a young American man “disappear” after he becomes the prime suspect in an attack on the Paris metro. James Watkins (The Woman in Black) is directing for Focus Features. [Variety]

• Nikki Reed (Twilight), Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter), Gustaf Skarsgård (Vikings), and Joe Jonas will all star in The Highway is for Gamblers. Wright will play Heidi, who uncovers dark secrets and violence while searching for her missing friend, rodeo queen Jane (Reed). Writer/director Alexandra McGuiness (Lotus Eaters) is at the helm on the project going into production next month in California. [Deadline]

• Actor and musician Tyson Ritter has signed on for the dramedy Miss You Already opposite Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette. The All-American Rejects frontman and Parenthood actor will play a young love interest to one of the ladies in the film about two best friends struggling to balance their everyday lives with each other. Dominic CooperPaddy Considine and Jacqueline Bisset will also star in the film directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) from a script written by Morwenna Banks. [Deadline]

• Universal has bought a pitch from Ice Cube to star and produce in a high-concept, big-idea comedy set in Colorado titled Rocky Mountain High. The Ride Along and Friday star is producing with his longtime manager Jeff Kwatinetz and Beau Flynn and if successful, the new film could turn into yet another franchise for the rapper turned actor. [Deadline]

• Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu has landed a major role opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 5. No details have been given about the role, but the Rush Hour 3 actress has already begun filming the sequel under the direction of Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) in London. [Variety]

• The Blind Side’s Quinton Aaron, Edi Gathegi (Twilight Saga) and Gillian Zinser (90201) will all star in Halfway, the feature directorial debut from British writer Ben Caird. Aaron will star as a recently released convict struggling to balance his urban criminal past as the only black man in a white, conservative Wisconsin farming town. Among the executive producers on the film are Aaron and former NFL star Nnamdi Asomugha, aka Mr. Kerry Washington. [The Wrap]

• Martin Donovan (Weeds) has landed an pivotal yet unidentified role in Marvel’s Ant-ManPeyton Reed (Yes Man) is directing the film starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll and John Slattery about con man Scott Lang (Rudd) and his ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength. Gabriel Ferrari, Andrew Barrer and Adam McKay wrote the screenplay for Ant-Man that is scheduled for release on July 17, 2015. [THR]

• Charlie Shotwell, soon to be seen opposite Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic, has been cast as the young son of Shia LaBeouf and Kate Mara’s characters in Man Down.  Jai Courtney, Gary Oldman and Terrence Howard also star in the film directed by Dito Montiel (A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints) from a screenplay by Adam Simon about an Afghanistan war veteran searching for his family in a post-apocalyptic America. [THR]

• Maddie Hasson (Twisted) has joined the Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light starring Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen. Hasson will play Williams’ second wife Audrey in the film directed by Marc Abraham (Flash of Genius). [Deadline]

• Smash actor Emory Cohen is heading west in  By Way of Helena. Cohen joins Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson in the picture directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith (Wish You Were Here) about a Texas Ranger in the 1880s sent to an isolated frontier town after a series of unsolved murders. [Deadline]

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