James Gandolfini Joins ANIMAL RESCUE, Adam Driver Added to THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, S. Epatha Merkerson in Talks for SEXUAL HEALING

     March 11, 2013

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We’ve got a couple of casting stories to share this afternoon.  Briefly:

  • James Gandolfini is in talks to join Tom Hardy in the crime drama Animal Rescue.
  • Girls standout Adam Driver is in negotiations to join Tina Fey and Jason Bateman in the comedy/drama This Is Where I Leave You.
  • Law & Order star S. Epatha Merkerson is looking to play Marvin Gaye’s mother in the biopic Sexual Healing.

Hit the jump for more details.

james-gandolfini-animal-rescueFirst up, Variety reports that James Gandolfini is in talks to join director Michael R. Roskam’s (Bullhead) Dennis Lehane adaptation Animal Rescue.  The film stars Tom Hardy as a lonely bartender who rescues a puppy from a garbage can and “becomes the target of the dog’s abusive and mentally unstable former owner, while simultaneously getting caught in the middle of a criminal conspiracy playing out in his mob-controlled bar.”  Details regarding Gandolfini’s role are unknown, but he seems a fine fit to play the dog’s former owner.  Noomi Rapace and James Frecheville (Animal Kingdom) are also set to star.

Additionally, the absolute best thing about HBO’s hit-or-miss comedy series Girls—Adam Driver—is being added to director Shawn Levy’s upcoming Jonathan Tropper adaptation This Is Where I Leave You.  The film tells the story of a dysfunctional family that is forced to reunite when their father requests they sit Shivah for seven days following his death, and Jason Bateman and Tina Fey have already been tapped to lead the ensemble, which also includes Jane Fonda, Kathryn Hahn (Step Brothers), and Corey Stoll (House of Cards).

Now THR reports that Driver is in talks to play the brother of Bateman, Fey, and Stoll, described as “the rebel of the family.”  Warner Bros. still has to work out the schedule for Driver given that he’s also set to begin filming the third season of Girls later this year, but I sincerely hope the deal comes through.  Driver is a force to be reckoned with on Girls and the guy deserves to blow up.

Finally, S. Epatha Merkerson is in talks to play Marvin Gaye’s mother in director Julien Temple’s upcoming biopic of the singer, Sexual Healing, per Deadline.  Merkerson’s Law & Order co-star Jesse L. Martin has been tapped to play Gaye, with Brendan Gleeson also set to co-star.  The film focuses on Gaye’s time spent in Europe in the early 1980s.

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