Cruise, Trevorrow, James, Duvall: Film Castings and Their Impact

Here’s how the latest crop of castings are positioned in the Hollywood ecosystem

Theo James
Theo James lands the male lead opposite Shailene Woodley in “Divergent.”
Set in a futuristic dystopia, a teenager seeks to break free from society. She joins a rival faction, where she falls for a young man.
Why it matters:
Considered by many in town to be one of the lengthier casting searches in some time, “Divergent” landed in the lap of James, a British actor best known for starring in new midseason CBS drama “Golden Boy.” He won a role that could have the kind of springboard effect “Thor” gave Chris Hemsworth and “Twilight” afforded Robert Pattinson. As Summit continues talks with Jai Courtney, Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart and Kate Winslet in supporting roles, he could find himself surrounded by a top-flight cast. Those last two names won’t come cheaply, though. Courtney, Teller and James are all very busy in the next year. Adding Winslet’s star power to the mix would make for an ensemble that appeals to several demos without a crazily inflated budget. Given the franchise is being viewed in the same vein as “The Hunger Games,” the castings show Summit is taking “Divergent” very seriously indeed.

(From the pages of the April 2 issue of Variety.)

Colin Trevorrow
Jurassic Park 4”
Colin Trevorrow to direct “Jurassic Park 4”
Likely to revolve around yet more dinosaurs terrorizing more people stranded in the park.
Why it matters:
Given the franchise has already grossed $1.9 billion worldwide, it seems counterintuitive to give the job to the little-known helmer, who directed the Sundance hit “Safety Not Guaranteed.” Apparently Universal is hoping Trevorrow will bring the well-rounded characters
that his past films are known for. The studio saw positive results last year when another gamble, first-time director Rupert Sanders, guided “Snow White and the Huntsman” to almost $400 million at the worldwide B.O. Trevorrow comes at a similarly low price, and tapping an unproven helmer gives the studio more control of how things are handled on set, though in this case, producers Frank Marshall and Steven Spielberg probably will be steering the ship.

Tom Cruise
“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”
Tom Cruise in early talks to star in Warner Bros.’ “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”
Based on the 1960s television series that revolved around two secret agents.
Why it matters:
Normally, anything Cruise is eyeing is a big deal. But what makes it interesting is how badly Warner Bros. has wanted to get this project off the ground since Steven Soderbergh was directing and George Clooney starring. But Clooney hurt his back and bowed out. Soderbergh went out to Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum and Bradley Cooper to star, but all three passed. Then Soderbergh left and Guy Ritchie replaced him, with the studio eyeing Ben Affleck and Mark Wahlberg to star. If Cruise signs on, the project becomes a huge priority for the studio. If he passes, perhaps it’s time to look for an actor without superstar status to finally get the pic made.

Robert Duvall
“The Judge”
Robert Duvall to play Robert Downey Jr.’s father in Warner Bros. “The Judge”
The dramedy follows a big-city lawyer who returns to his childhood home where hisestranged father, the town’s judge, is suspected of murder.
Why it matters:
This announcement flew under the radar when it was announced, but getting Duvall onboard ensured production got under way on time in Atlanta this summer, which is important given Downey’s busy schedule. Jack Nicholson had also been considered, but he comes at a cost. In his last film, Sony’s “How Do You Know” Nicholson did not take a pay cut, receiving his standard $12 million quote. With Duvall, Warner Bros. avoids overpaying while still grabbing an actor who has proven dramatic and comedic chops.

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