Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, and Sam Shepard are set to star in Scott Cooper‘s Out of the Furnace. The film centers on Russell Baze (Bale), who is released after serving four years in prison only to find that his younger brother, Rodney Baze Jr. (Affleck) has been brutally murdered. He sets out to avenge the death and track down the killer. Saldana will play Russell’s love interest, Lena Warren. We had previously reported on Bale, Affleck, and Saldana‘s connection to the project, but Shepard’s name is new. He’ll be playing Russell and Rodney’s uncle, Red. The press release makes no mention of Billy Bob Thornton and Forest Whitaker, who reportedly were circling the villain and sleazy bookie roles, respectively. If they sign on, they’ll be welcome additions to an already strong cast. Production begins later this month in Braddock, Pennsylvania.
Hit the jump to check out the press release, which contains the official synopsis.
Here’s the press release (I’ve emphasized the plot synopsis):
Casting Heats Up On Relativity Media’s Currently Titled
OUT OF THE FURNACE
Red Granite Partners on International as Production Starts in Braddock, Pennsylvania
(Beverly Hills, Calif.) April 5, 2012 – Relativity Media has closed deals with Oscar®-winner Christian Bale (The Fighter), Oscar®-nominated Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford), Zoe Saldana (Avatar) and Oscar®-nominated Sam Shepard (Safe House) to star as the lead roles in the upcoming gripping and gritty drama currently titled Out of the Furnace, written and directed by the critically-acclaimed Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), it was announced today by Relativity’s Co-President, Tucker Tooley. Bale will star as older brother Russell Baze in the film alongside Affleck who will play the role of younger brother Rodney Baze Jr. Saldana has also been cast as Bale’s love interest Lena Warren and Shepard will play Red, Russell and Rodney Baze’s uncle. Production is set to begin in Braddock, Pennsylvania later this month.
Relativity Media will release the film theatrically in the U.S. Red Granite, the Los Angeles based film production, finance and international sales company has acquired foreign rights outside of the U.S. and will handle international sales. Red Granite International President Danny Dimbort and Co-President Christian Mercuri will begin shopping the film to buyers in Cannes next month.
In making the announcement, Tooley said, “This is a meaty script with characters as strong as they are complex, and we needed powerhouse actors who complement the story. Christian, Casey, Zoe and Sam each approach everything they do with heart and conviction. We can’t wait to see what each of them brings to this film,” says Tooley.
The film is a drama about fate, circumstance, and redemption. Russell and his younger brother live in the economically depressed Rust Belt, and have always dreamed of escaping and finding better lives. But when a cruel twist of fate lands Russell in prison, his brother is lured into one of the most violent and ruthless crime rings in the Northeast – a mistake that will almost cost him everything. Once released, Russell must choose between his own freedom, or risk it all to seek justice for his brother.