Jessica Chastain is THE ZOOKEEPERS WIFE, Brad Pitt Out for THE GRAY MAN, Gael Garcia Bernal and Alice Braga Star in EL ARDOR

     April 30, 2013

jessica-chastain-the-zookeepers-wife-slice

Here’s today’s casting news:

  • Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) is set to star in The Zookeeper’s Wife, based on the Diana Ackerman novel about the true story of Warsaw zoo owners Jan and Antonina Zabinski’s rescue of hundreds of Jewish refugees during the Nazi invasion of World War II.
  • Brad Pitt was courted to play the world’s greatest assassin in The Gray Man a number of years ago, but it looks like the veteran has departed this particular picture.
  • Gael Garcia Bernal (No) and Alice Braga (I Am Legend) are set to star in El Ardor, pitched as a modern-day Western, a tale of survival and revenge set in in the Amazon jungle.

Hit the jump for more on each casting announcement.

alice-braga-el-ardorFirst up, THR reports that Chastain will star in The Zookeeper’s Wife.  Angela Workman (War Bride) wrote the screenplay and the picture will be directed by Niko Caro (Whale Rider).  When the Nazis begin destroying Poland – and with their Warsaw zoo threatened – the Zabinskis began smuggling Jews into empty cages and eventually taking in around a dozen into their home.  With her husband serving as part of the Polish resistance, Antonina managed to keep a mix of humans and animals (lynxes and hyena pups, among them) surviving in a unique community that included socializing and even the occasional piano concert.

As for Pitt’s departure from The Gray Man, The Wrap’s Jeff Sneider Tweets:

Jeff Sneider ‏@TheInSneider

MINI-SCOOP for Twitter: BRAD PITT no longer attached to star in THE GRAY MAN for New Regency. Director James Gray seeking new leading man…

We last reported on Pitt’s discussions for the film a couple of years ago, so it looks like this one has fallen by the wayside.

Finally, THR reports that Bernal and Braga will star in El Ardor, which is being shot in Argentina by writer/director Pablo Fendrik (Blood Appears).  The film centers on a mysterious man (Bernal) who emerges from the Argentinean rainforest to rescue the kidnapped daughter (Braga) of a poor farmer after mercenaries murder her father and take over his property.

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