In today's Callbacks — your daily roundup of casting news from Deal Central — Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper go on a "Honeymoon With Harry," the "Juno" team of Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody land an Oscar-winning actress for "Young Adult," "Lost" director Jack Bender may trade Jack Shephard for Jack Ryan, and Sigourney Weaver decides to mess with Bruce Willis' son in "The Cold Light of Day."
Previously on Deal Central: Lee Pace befriends "Breaking Dawn" co-star Robert Pattinson, Davis Guggenheim pulls a 180 and moves from documentaries to a 3D biopic of teen pop star Justin Bieber, and Deal Central celebrates Kevin Smith's 40th birthday with a retrospective of the foul-mouthed filmmaker's career.
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Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs") is circling the long-gestating project, which is adapted by Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis ("Crash") from an unpublished novel by Bart Baker.
While there are no deals yet, if all goes according to plan, Cooper would play a formerly self-centered, hard-drinking womanizer who changes his ways when he meets a girl and falls in love, while De Niro would play the girl's father, who recognizes himself in the young man and tries to break them up. The young lovers get engaged, but when the girl dies in a tragic accident just before the wedding, the groom heads off on their honeymoon to drown his sorrows and drinks himself to death. There, he meets his would-be father-in-law, who has come to spread his daughter's ashes on her favorite beach.
It sounds like a bit like the underrated "Moonlight Mile," if Jake Gyllenhaal and Dustin Hoffman's characters didn't have Susan Sarandon propping them up.
New Line and producer Mike Karz began developing the project in 2004 after buying Baker's novel, which still hasn't found a publisher, though that shouldn't be a problem if the movie gets made.
Haggis was hired to write the screenplay before he wrote back-to-back Best Picture winners, and eventually he was hired to direct. At one point, Vince Vaughn and Jack Nicholson flirted with the project, but New Line and Haggis couldn't agree on a budget and then the studio folded and the writer's strike happened.
Eventually, Cooper became interested and got De Niro involved after they co-starred together in Neil Burger's upcoming thriller "Dark Fields." The duo are represented by CAA, while ICM represents Demme.
• Oscar winner Charlize Theron is set to star in "Young Adult," a dark comedy set up at Mandate Pictures that will reunite Oscar-nominated "Juno" director Jason Reitman with Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody, as well as that film's producers.
Theron will play a divorced ghostwriter of young adult novels who sets out to reclaim her identity after hiding behind a pseudonym for many years. Her plan involves reconnecting with her high school boyfriend, a recently married man and new father who wants nothing to do with her.
While she works on her campaign, she re-engages with her high school acquaintances and reflects on the hopes and dreams they shared before life delivered its own set of plans.
Theron is a smart choice for the role, and likewise, the project is a smart choice for her. Since winning a well-deserved Oscar for "Monster," she's been stuck starring in a slew of dark dramas, including "North Country," "In the Valley of Elah," "Battle in Seattle," "The Burning Plain" and "The Road," so it's no surprise that the best thing she's done in the past five years has been a five-episode arc as Jason Bateman's daffy girlfriend on Fox's "Arrested Development." While "Young Adult" has some darker, stalker-ish elements, it can't hurt to team up with Cody and Reitman, whose last film, "Up in the Air," was actually better than "Juno."
Cody wrote the screenplay and will produce with her manager Mason Novick and Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith of Mr. Mudd, whose John Malkovich will exec produce with Mandate president Nathan Kahane.
Reitman has reportedly brought in Indian Paintbrush's Steven Rales to possibly co-finance with Mandate, and he will be an exec producer as well.
Several studios are said to be interested in the project, which is scheduled to start production in New York on November 10 if everything goes according to plan.
Theron and Reitman are represented by WME, while Gersh represents Cody.
• Jack Bender could be moving from Jack Shephard to Jack Ryan.
The executive producer of "Lost" and the director of its polarizing finale is the front-runner to direct Chris Pine in "Moscow," a contemporary origin story that follows Ryan before the character joins the CIA.
Originally a freestanding drama titled "Dubai," Adam Cozad's well-regarded screenplay was refashioned to fit the Tom Clancy-created franchise, which has grossed over $775 million worldwide over the course of four films starring Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck as the intellectual action hero.
Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld will produce the movie, which Paramount and co-financier Skydance Prods. are prepping for a February start date.
Several other directors have met on the project but Bender is reportedly atop the short-list for the coveted job.
I can't think of a better choice for this franchise. Bender has directed some of the best episodes of "Lost" and it's no surprise that he's taking on a major feature assignment coming off that landmark series. Many years before he became one of TV's busiest directors, he directed one of my favorite guilty pleasures, the peerless "Child's Play 3."
Pine next stars opposite Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hardy in the Fox comedy "This Means War." He'll play Jack Ryan before he reprises his role as Capt. James T. Kirk in the "Star Trek" sequel scheduled to go into production next year.
Bender previously directed episodes of "The Sopranos" and "Alias." He is represented by UTA.
Mabrouk El Mechri (the impressive "JCVD") directs from a script by Scott Wiper and John Petro, whose script was recently rewritten by novelist/screenwriter Richard Price ("Ransom," HBO's "The Wire").
Henry Cavill ("The Tudors") stars a young American whose family is kidnapped while vacationing in Spain. He's given hours to find them, uncover a government conspiracy and discover the connection between the kidnapping and his father's secrets.
Willis would play Cavill's father, while Weaver would play the villain, a role that was originally written for a male actor.
Intrepid Pictures is co-financing the project, which begins shooting September 6 in Spain.
Intrepid's Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans are producing, while Kevin Mann, Matthew Perniciaro and Galavis Films principal Jesus Martinez will exec produce with Wiper. Film Rites' Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch will also exec produce.
Willis is represented by CAA, while UTA represents Weaver.