Development/casting roundup

A quick look at some recent preproduction developments:

— Jim Carrey has agreed to star in I Love You Philip Morris, a comedy based on a book by journalist Steve McVicker. Carrey will play a married father who ends up in jail, falls in love with his cellmate, and makes several escapes after the cellmate is released. The film is the directorial debut of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who co-wrote Bad Santa.

— Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson will play the leads in Last Chance Harvey, a romantic drama written by Joel Hopkins, who will also direct. This isn’t Hoffman and Thompson’s first chance to work together; they co-starred in last year’s Stranger Than Fiction.

— Russell Crowe’s new company, Fear of Gold Films, has optioned Dolce’s Inferno, a romantic comedy that will give Crowe his first feature film producing credit. It won’t be his first or last venture off camera, however; Crowe previously directed and produced Texas, a documentary, and is slated to direct Bra Boys for Universal and Imagine Entertainment.

— Director Gus Van Sant signed on to the adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The 1967 book tells the story of the Merry Pranksters’ drug-enhanced cross-country trip; screenwriter Lance Black, who’s also working with Van Sant on a biopic of Harvey Milk, will pen the script.

— Spike Lee has signed on to direct a World War II drama based on Miracle of St. Anna, a novel by James McBridge, who will also write the screenplay. The film and book are based on the true story of four members of an all-African-American division who became trapped in a Tuscan village; shooting is scheduled to start next year in Italy.

— Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany, who starred in A Beautiful Mind, are on board for Born. The psychological thriller, about a husband and wife threatened by his claymation creations, has talent behind the camera as well: Guillermo del Toro is one of the producers, and Clive Barker will be executive producer.

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