Trio of thesps going ‘Deep’

Robert Duvall, Morgan Freeman and Vanessa Redgrave are joining the cast of Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks’ asteroid picture “Deep Impact,” sources said. Tea Leoni and Elijah Wood have already been cast in the Mimi Leder-directed film.

The casting heats up the competition between two asteroid projects. Touchstone Pictures’ “Armageddon” is still on track with Michael Bay at the helm. That picture, which stars Bruce Willis, is scheduled to roll in mid-August. Gale Anne Hurd and Bay are producing. Jonathan Hensleigh rewrote a script by Robert Roy Pool.

“Deep Impact,” produced by David Brown, Richard Zanuck and Steven Spielberg, is headed before the cameras June 9. Duvall is in final negotiations to play an old astronaut, and Freeman has agreed to play the U.S. president. Duvall last starred in “A Family Thing.” Freeman just starred in “Kiss the Girls” for Par, and “Amistad” for Spielberg and DreamWorks.

Redgrave last starred in the indie “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” and Par’s “Mission: Impossible.”

“Deep Impact,” about the discovery of a comet that is on a crash course with Earth, was inspired by the 1951 film “When Worlds Collide” and by Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Hammer of God.” Duvall is repped by the William Morris Agency’s Todd Harris and Freeman is repped by WMA’s Jeff Hunter.

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