Kodi Smit-McPhee in Talks to Play Benvolio in ROMEO AND JULIET Opposite Hailee Steinfeld; Corbin Bernsen Joins LAY THE FAVORITE

     June 7, 2011

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And the casting stories keep on coming. 14-year-old Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In) is in early negotiations to join Carlo Carlei’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Variety reports that he’s being eyed for the role of Benvolio, Romeo’s cousin. Hailee Steinfeld is attached to star as Juliet, with Ed Westwick poised to play Tybalt and Holly Hunter set to take on the role of The Nurse. Italian director Carlei (Flight of the Innocent) will helm from a script by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park). The key roles of Romeo and Mercutio have yet to be cast, but production is set to begin this summer in Italy.

Additionally, Corbin Bernsen has joined the cast of the indie gambling comedy Lay the Favorite. Based on the memoir of Beth Raymer, the flick stars Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The story centers on Raymer’s rise from a Las Vegas cocktail waitress to one of the world’s best gamblers. Variety reports that Bernsen will play Hall’s father in the flick. Stephen Frears (High Fidelity) is directing from a script by D.V. De Vincentis. I’m a big fan of Frears, and the cast he’s turning out is pretty impressive. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the novel.

Here’s the synopsis for Lay the Favorite:

Hailing from Ohio, Raymer eventually made her way to Las Vegas when she was 24 and found a lucrative position assisting a Queens-born, Stuyvesant High School-educated gambling operator, Dink Heimowitz. The lovable, irascible, big-bellied Dinky had shucked life as a bookmaker back in New York, having run into trouble, for professional sports gambling; he put Raymer and the other motley staff on the phones setting up bets for all kinds of sports matchups (baseball, football, horse racing, hockey) in order to find a line that gave him an edge. Dinky referred Raymer to a high-flying bookie on Long Island, Bernard Rose, who had his own offshore network. As girl Friday Raymer fetched doughnuts, placed calls, and acted as a runner, making wads of dough, but mostly Raymer cherished working among the assortment of gambling types, the low-end hustlers and misfits she chronicles with evident tenderness. [Amazon]

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