Casting additions today are as follows:
- Mike Epps (The Hangover) will portray comedian Richard Pryor in Nina, the Nina Simone biopic from writer/director Cynthia Mort that stars Zoe Saldana (Avatar) and David Oyelowo (The Last King of Scotland).
- Hip hop artist, Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi will join the indie rom-com, Two Night Stand, which marks the directorial debut of Max Nichols.
- Jai Courtney (Spartacus: Vengeance) will star opposite Joel Edgerton (Warrior) and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton) in Felony. Matthew Seville (Noise) directs from Edgerton’s script.
Hit the jump for more on each picture.
Two pieces of casting to report:
- Zoe Saldana will play legendary jazz vocalist/pianist Nina Simone in the biopic Nina, written and directed by Cynthia Mort (Tell Me You Love Me).
- Jake Gyllenhaal signed on to star in Mississippi Grind, a gambling drama written and directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (It’s Kind of a Funny Story).
Hit the jump for details on both projects.
Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) and Cynthia Mort (Tell Me You Love Me) have been developing the comedy Tilda at HBO for some time now, with Diane Keaton and Ellen Page rumored for the leads. And because HBO has proven they can get any star they darn well please (be it Martin Scorsese, Russell Crowe, or Kate Winslet), Keaton and Page have now officially signed on. Keaton will play Tilda, a “a powerful female online Hollywood journalist with a no-holds-barred style”, and Page will play Carolyn, a “morally conflicted creative assistant.”
Hit the jump for more on the project’s murky connection to real life blogger Nikki Finke, details on where the series won’t set up production, and what this announcement means for the HBO comedy Stitch N’ Bitch that Page is developing.
Cynthia Mort (Tell Me You Love Me) has found the star for her Nina Simone biopic–elegantly titled Nina–in R&B singer Mary J. Blige. According to THR, Mort’s screenplay centers around Simone’s relationship with assistant Clifton Henderson, whom David Oyelowo (The Last King of Scotland) has signed on to play. Simone rose to fame as a jazz vocalist/pianist in the 1950s and 1960s and became heavily involved in the civil rights movement in the late sixties. Blige is most famous for her powerful vocals and R&B stylings, but recently appeared in the Tyler Perry film I Can Do Bad All by Myself. This is the second casting of a musical figure of recent note, as it was announced last week that Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) would play Nigerian icon Fela Kuti in a Focus Features biopic directed by Steve McQueen (Hunger).
Because any reason to post Simone’s version of “Feelin’ Good” is a good one, listen to a clip of the soulful number after the break.
HBO is joining the blogosphere-and using a sitcom to do it. The network announced its desire to develop Tilda, a new comedy from Cynthia Mort and Oscar-winning writer-director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Gods and Monsters). According to THR, the show will follow “a powerful female online showbiz journalist with a no-holds-barred style.” (Can anyone say Niki Finke and Toldya!) Both Condon and Mort are writing and executive producing the show with Condon set to direct if it the pilot is greenlighted. Tilda marks Condon’s first attempt at series writing and is Mort’s second go-around with HBO, following her controversial series Tell Me You Love Me.
When the dark day comes and Curb Your Enthusiasm calls it quits, HBO will need a replacement. Whether or not Tilda can really fill that void remains to seen but if it is anything like Tell Me, it should be pretty, pretty…pretty good.