Joshua Jackson (Fringe) is in talks to star opposite Bruce Willis and Rebecca Hall in Lay the Favorite, based on the life of Beth Raymer. Once a Las Vegas cocktail waitress, Raymer became an elite professional gambler: “After falling in love, Raymer soon begins to re-evaluate her life and the profession she has chosen.” Hall will portray Raymer — Willis will play her gambling mentor Dink Heimowitz. Last we checked, Catherine Zeta-Jones was in talks to play Willis’ wife in the film. Variety doesn’t specify in their report, but my instinct says Jackson is up for the love interest. Lay the Favorite reunites director Stephen Frears (Tamara Drewe) with his High Fidelity screenwriter D.V. DeVincentis.
Hit the jump for more casting news, wherein Victoria Jackson, James Frecheville, and Craig Roberts join The First Time, and Michael Peña enters negotiations for End of Watch.
Variety reports Justice, Frecheville, and Roberts will join Joshua Malina, Halston Sage, Maggie Jones, Adam Sevani, Britt Robertson, and Dylan O’Brien in the indie teen romance The First Time. The story centers on “two high school students (Robertson and O’Brien) over the first weekend of a blossoming relationship.” Jon Kasdan (In the Land of Women) wrote and will direct The First Time. Justice will play the O’Brien’s dream girl who sees him as only a friend.
After growing up on Nickelodeon in Zoey 101 and Victorious, Justice is making the leap to features — the teen actress recently landed the lead in the Halloween comedy Fun Size, the feature diretorial debut of Josh Schwartz (Chuck). Aussie Frecheville and Welshman Roberts anchored the critically acclaimed Animal Kingdom and Submarine, respectively, in 2010. The First Time marks the Hollywood debut of Frecheville. Submarine is scheduled for release in the U.S. June 3, and Roberts has been cast in the paranormal thriller Red Lights.
Lastly, Michael Peña is in talks to star opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in the gritty cop drama End of Watch. Per Variety, the script by writer/director David Ayer “chronicles the friendship between two longtime partners.” Ayer will also produce with John Lesher. Up next for Peña is the indie dramedy Everything Must Go (May 13) and comedies 30 Minutes or Less (August 12) and Tower Heist (November 4).