Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael B. Jordan in Talks to Star in ‘Triple Nine’ (Exclusive)

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John Hillcoat’s crime drama is also expected to co-star Christoph Waltz and Cate Blanchett

John Hillcoat’s “Triple Nine” is lining up an all-star cast of this year’s awards contenders, with Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael B. Jordan in talks to star alongside Christoph Waltz and Cate Blanchett, multiple individuals familiar with the project have told TheWrap.

Affleck is nearing a deal to replace Charlie Hunnam as the lead in the Megan Ellison-financed crime drama, which is being produced by Anonymous Content.

Story follows a group of thieves who plan to kill a young LAPD officer to divert the police away from a daring heist they’re perpetrating across town. The title “Triple Nine” refers to police code indicating that an officer needs immediate assistance.

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Affleck will play the targeted officer, while Ejiofor is engaging with an offer to play a career criminal who masterminds the heist. Jordan is in talks to play a street-wise cop in Ejiofor’s gang who partners with Affleck and plans to set him up.

Anonymous Content’s Keith Redmon, Brad Dorros and Steve Golin are producing the movie, which Ellison is financing through her Panorama Media banner. Hillcoat (“The Road”) is directing from a script by Matt Cook, and Anonymous Content’s Paul Green will executive produce.

The long-gestating project, which Hillcoat’s “Lawless” star Shia LaBeouf was once attached to, is expected to start production next year, and several other major stars are circling juicy supporting roles.

TheWrap first reported that Waltz and Blanchett were in talks to co-star in “Triple Nine” back in July. Blanchett’s participation depends on scheduling, which could prove tricky with an ensemble cast that is in such high-demand. Interest in the project is a testament to Cook’s script and Hillcoat’s reputation for coaxing strong performances out of his actors.

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It has been an exciting week for Ejiofor, who received Golden Globe and SAG nominations for his devastating performance in “12 Years a Slave,” as well as a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the miniseries “Dancing on the Edge.” He’s represented by CAA, Markham, Froggatt and Irwin and attorney Robert S. Wallerstein.

Affleck is in the awards conversation thanks to his supporting performance as Christian Bale’s younger brother in “Out of the Furnace.” He also starred in David Lowery’s critically acclaimed drama “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and recently wrapped Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.” Affleck, who received an Oscar nomination for “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” is represented by WME.

Jordan was overlooked by Golden Globes voters for his harrowing performance in “Fruitvale Station,” which has received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. He next stars in the romantic comedy “That Awkward Moment,” and is set to play Apollo Creed’s grandson opposite Sylvester Stallone in Ryan Coogler’s “Creed.” Jordan, who is also the frontrunner to play the Human Torch in Fox’s “Fantastic Four” reboot, is represented by WME, the Schiff Company and attorney Gregory Slewett.