In today’s Callbacks — your daily roundup of casting news from Deal Central — Robert De Niro gets kidnapped; Colin Farrell plays a horrible boss and an even worse neighbor; Channing Tatum and Queen Latifah cheat on Ron Howard; Lex Luthor teams up with Sylar; Fox’s "X-Men: First Class" gets a "Kick-Ass" writer; and Julie Taymor’s "The Tempest" finally lands a distributor.
• Ultimate tough guy Robert De Niro will join young guns Jason Statham and Clive Owen in Gary McKendry‘s "The Killer Elite," according to Moviehole via the Herald-Sun. While the language of the initial report is unclear, TheWrap has confirmed with De Niro’s publicist Stan Rosenfield that the actor is indeed in talks to co-star in the action-thriller.
Additionally, "Chuck" bombshell Yvonne Strahovski, "Prison Break" star Dominic Purcell, Ben Mendelsohn (the upcoming Australian crime film "Animal Kingdom"), Lachy Hulme ("Macbeth,") Aden Young and Firass Dirani have joined the cast.
Apparently, De Niro will play Hunter, Statham’s friend and mentor who is kidnapped by an Arab sheik and used to blackmail Statham into killing Hulme. Strahovski will play Statham’s love interest.
Based on Ranulph Fiennes‘ best-selling novel "The Feather Men," the story follows a group of former British special forces members being hunted by a team of assassins led by a former Navy Seal (Statham) who has come out of retirement to save an old friend. Owen will play a senior field operative and member of a clandestine group charges with protecting former special forces soldiers and their families.
The project is currently filming in Melbourne, with production set to move to Wales in late July.
• Colin Farrell is set to play Anton Yelchin‘s bloodsucking neighbor in DreamWorks’ remake of "Fright Night," according to the Hollywood Reporter. The always-wonderful Toni Collette has also joined the cast as Yelchin’s mother who falls under Farrell’s seductive spell and refuses to believe her son’s suspicions.
Chris Sarandon played the charming vampire in Tom Holland‘s 1985 cult classic. Craig Gillespie ("Lars and the Real Girl") directs the remake, which Disney will distribute.
Additionally, Deadline reports that Farrell will play one of the title characters in the New Line comedy "Horrible Bosses" from director Seth Gordon. Keep in mind it’s a supporting role, as the real stars of the show are the three employees who are forced to deal with their obnoxious supervisors.
Farrell hasn’t made a studio film in years but his resurgence is well deserved coming off impressive low-key turns in indie films "Crazy Heart" and "In Bruges," the latter of which won him a Golden Globe.
Apparently, Hollywood has noticed that Farrell has cleaned up his act, as the Irish actor was also courted for the Katherine Heigl drama "One For the Money" and Fox’s Reese Witherspoon–Chris Pine comedy "This Means War."
Farrell next appears in Neil Jordan‘s "Ondine" and will soon be seen opposite Keira Knightley in William Monahan‘s "London Boulevard." He recently wrapped Peter Weir‘s period drama "The Way Back," which is expected to premiere at either the Venice or Toronto film festivals.
Allan Loeb‘s script concerns a man (Vaughn) who discovers that his best friend’s wife (Winona Ryder) is cheating, and finds himself in a moral dilemma of whether he should tell the guy (James). Jennifer Connelly also stars in the film, presumably as Vaughn’s wife.
While it’s unclear what role Queen Latifah will play, Tatum will be playing Ryder’s pierced and tattooed lover. Apparently, Tatum will be filming several scenes with Vaughn, so expect some kind of cordial confrontation, since there’s no way Vaughn would mess with the "Fighting" star.
The film also happens to be the first comedy Tatum has done since 2006’s "She’s the Man" with Amanda Bynes.
Vaughn and Imagine’s Brian Grazer are producing the film, which begins shooting in June in Chicago.
• Kevin Spacey and Zachary Quinto are attached to star in the corporate thriller "Margin Call," reports Deadline.
J.C. Chandor makes his feature directorial debut on the film, which he also wrote.
The story follows eight people at a prominent investment bank over a tumultuous 24-hour period during the early stages of the financial crisis as they struggle to position themselves ahead of the coming storm.
While the logline doesn’t sound particularly exciting, it could prove promising if producers continue to assemble a solid ensemble around Spacey and Quinto, an intriguing pairing who seem like a good fit for the topical material.
Joe Jenckes will produce with Quinto and his Before The Door partners Neal Dodson and Corey Moosa. Myriad Pictures’ Kirk D’Amico will exec produce with Laura Rister, Randy Manis and Washington Square Films’ Joshua Blum.
Myriad will represent the film at Cannes, with production set to begin this summer in Manhattan.
• "Kick-Ass" co-writer Jane Goldman‘s husband Jonathan Ross has revealed on his Twitter account (@wossy) that his wife has been hired to rewrite Matthew Vaughn‘s "X-Men: First Class."
As Hitfix notes, this is great news, as Goldman is a key collaborative part of Vaughn’s process. Besides Mark Millar‘s superhero comic, the duo also adapted Neil Gaiman‘s "Stardust" together.
Fox initially hired Josh Schwartz to write the script, though Jamie Moss penned a significant rewrite and "Thor" writers Zack Stentz and Ashley Edward Miller also apparently took a crack at it.
"X-Men: First Class" is in session June 3, 2011.
• And finally, prepare to spend another awards season with Oscar winner Helen Mirren, as Julie Taymor‘s "The Tempest" will now be distributed by Disney through its Touchstone division this December, reports USA Today. The Shakespeare adaptation had been looking for a distributor after being left in limbo by the closure of Miramax.