Nia Vardalos Set To Star In New American Girl Film; Ben Mendelsohn In Talks For THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

     June 17, 2011


A few casting details for you here. Nia Vardalos, co-writer of the upcoming romantic comedy Larry Crowne starring Tom Hanks, will appear in a new American Girl film. I know what you’re thinking. I had no idea there were old American Girl films either, but you might have heard of the lone theatrical release, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. Apparently Vardalos is influenced by her daughter’s opinion just like a lot of actors that do kids films these days.

On the flip side, we have Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom), who is in talks to join Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines. While Mendelsohn has a large number of films under his belt, he broke out last year playing the creepy uncle in Animal Kingdom that would never go away. With two films coming before the end of the year, it doesn’t look like Mendelsohn will be going anywhere either. Hit the jump for more details on both films and actors.

kit-kitteredge-an-american-girl-movie-posterVardalos told THR about her influence to play in the new American Girl film: “Not only is this is free trip home but most importantly, it’ll make me cool to my daughter.” The films are based on the line of dolls and accessories that were popular with tween girls in half a decade ago. Jade Pettyjohn (United States of Tara) will play the lead character. The new film will begin production July 11th in Winnipeg, hometown of Vardalos, who will be playing Pettyjohn’s mother. One interesting tidbit is that Vince Marcello, who had his USC thesis short film, Zombie Prom, executive produced by Wes Craven, is set to direct the wholesome family film. If you were hoping to see Vardalos on the silver screen, you might have to wait: the film will be distributed by Universal Home Video.

As for The Place Beyond the Pines, it might further Cianfrance’s ballsy attitude about having the actors live their work in a Method style. For last year’s critical darling Blue Valentine, he wanted Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams to develop chemistry so he had them live together for several weeks in the home they live in from the film. For Beyond the Pines, which takes place over several decades, it will be curious how far he wants Gosling and Cooper to go.

The film follows Gosling as a motorcycle rider who is brought into bank robbing in order to support his newborn son. Eva Mendes has been cast to play Gosling’s flame and mother of his child. Cooper will play a cop that crosses paths with Gosling. According the Variety, Mendelsohn would play will play Robin Van Der Zee who brings Gosling into the bank robbing business. Greta Gerwig is also in talks to play Cooper’s wife. Beyond the Pines is set to begin production July 25th in Schenectady, N.Y. Stay tuned for more details as they come.

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