Nicole Kidman May Supplant Naomi Watts as QUEEN OF THE DESERT; Christopher Plummer Joins THE FORGER; Ben McKenzie is THE SWIMMER

     September 9, 2013

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Here’s today’s helping of casting news:

Hit the jump for more on each announcement.

nicole-kidmanDeadline reports that Kidman is in talks replace Watts in Queen of the Desert.  The story centers on Bell, an “explorer, writer, archaeologist and attaché for the British Empire who is credited with helping to catalyze the formation of the Middle East at the dawn of the 20th century.”  The film also stars James Franco and Robert Pattinson.

Here are more details on Plummer joining The Forger:

OSCAR WINNER CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER JOINS CAST OF ‘THE FORGER’ WILL STAR OPPOSITE JOHN TRAVOLTA

(LOS ANGELES, CA) September 7, 2013 – Oscar winner Christopher Plummer (BEGINNERS, THE LAST STATION) joins the cast of heist film, THE FORGER, starring opposite two-time Academy Award nominee and two-time Golden Globe winner John Travolta and recent Venice Film Festival Award winner for Best New Young Actor Tye Sheridan (JOE, MUD), it was announced today by producers and co-financiers Code Entertainment’s (“Code”) Al Corley and Bart Rosenblatt and Lisa Wilson and Myles Nestel of The Solution Entertainment Group (“The Solution”). 

The film, to be directed by BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning director, Philip Martin (BBC’s “Wallander”), will begin shooting in Boston in October.

Starring as Travolta’s father and Sheridan’s grandfather, Plummer will play Joseph Cutter, the patriarch of the family that spans three generations in the film.

christopher-plummerWritten by Richard D’Ovidio (THE CALL), THE FORGER tells the story of a former child art prodigy and second generation petty thief, Ray Cutter (Travolta) who arranges to buy his way out of prison to spend time with his ailing son, Will Cutter (Sheridan). Ray and his father, Joseph Cutter (Plummer), must come together to carry out one last big job for the syndicate who financed his early release.

Code’s Al Corley, Bart Rosenblatt, and Eugene Musso will produce the film along with Rob Carliner.  Jonathan Dana and Randi Michel will executive produce alongside The Solution’s Myles Nestel and Lisa Wilson. Anson Downes and Linda Favila will serve as co-executive producers.

The Solution is handling international sales at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival, with WME Global and ICM Partners handling domestic sales.

“Christopher Plummer brings elegance and class to an already astonishing cast. THE FORGER team welcomes Mr. Plummer with open arms and feels truly fortunate to include his enormous talents,” said Corley.

“We feel privileged to have the legendary Christopher Plummer joining the cast of THE FORGER. His extraordinary presence on screen is a welcome addition to the great cast featuring John Travolta and Tye Sheridan,” said Wilson and Nestel.

Christopher Plummer won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2012 for his performance in BEGINNERS opposite Ewan McGregor. His many film credits over the years include THE SOUND OF MUSIC, MURDER BY DECREE, THE INSIDER, A BEAUTIFUL MIND, THE LAST STATION and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. He will next be seen in Michael Radford’s ELSA & FRED with Shirley MacLaine and Marcia Gay Harden, and HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS with Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike and Stellan Skarsgård, both in post-production. He is currently filming IMAGINE opposite Annette Bening, Al Pacino and Jennifer Garner.

Plummer is repped by ICM and The Pitt Group.

ben-mckenzie-imageHere’s the press release for McKenzie in The Swimmer:

BEN McKENZIE TO STAR, BIFROST PICTURES TO FINANCE AND PRODUCE ‘THE SWIMMER’

Norway’s Renowned Actors Agnes Kittelsen and Kristoffer Joner Also Star

Los Angeles, CA (September 7, 2013)—Daniel Wagner’s BiFrost Pictures has announced today that the company will finance and produce the feature THE SWIMMER, starring Ben McKenzie (“Southland,” “The O.C.”) and to be directed by Richard L. Fox. The film, written by Bard Ivar Engelsas, is an official selection of the U.S.- Norway Film Development Project founded in 2011 by Lisa G. Black of Garnet Girl, LLC and Brandi Savitt of Senza Pictures, in collaboration with the regional film funds of Norway.

The movie will also star two of Norway’s celebrated actors, Agnes Kittelsen and Kristoffer Joner, who are playing supporting roles opposite McKenzie. Wagner is producing the project with Black and Savitt and their respective companies, along with Sweet Films AS of Norway. THE SWIMMER is scheduled to commence principal photography in Northern Norway in June 2014.

The film centers on an American extreme swimmer ( (McKenzie) who embarks on a mission to conquer one of the wildest rivers in Norway – his personal Mt. Everest.  But his journey proves that his true conquest is far more daunting than his swim; as he is faced to confront his inner demons and reconcile his past.

Wagner said, “BiFrost has been looking at European co-productions for some time now, but when I read Bard’s script I immediately knew this was the one. It is a compelling look into the world of extreme swimming, but also a story about family and what is most important in life. We look forward to working with Lisa and Brandi as we bring this picture to audiences around the world.”

McKenzie commented, “It’s a modern story, but timeless as well. Bard’s script really captivated me: a tortured man risking it all in a battle against nature. It’s themes evoke the spirit of Hemingway and London, and I couldn’t be more excited to shoot in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Norway.”

“We are thrilled to have found a partner in BiFrost who understands our innovative approach to international co-ventures, and our mission to bring compelling narratives from Norway to audiences globally,” said Black and Savitt

BiFrost recently announced that it will finance and produce actor Paul Bettany’s directorial debut SHELTER, starring Academy Award-winner Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie. The film is scheduled to begin production at the end of this year.

BiFrost’s current slate also includes THE GIRL WHO CONNED THE IVY LEAGUE, to be directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman and starring Amanda Seyfried, and the recently completed THE WORLD MADE STRAIGHT, directed by David Burris and starring Minka Kelly, Haley Joel Osment, and Noah Wyle and based on the award-winning novel by Ron Rash.

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