This Week:

Mark Romanek to direct Blackbird; Ansel Elgort circles Edgar Wright’s new film; the Ben-Hur remake adds Rodrigo Santoro; two animated features cast big names; and Jennifer Lawrence and Francis Lawrence may reteam.

Never Let Me Go helmer Mark Romanek has signed on to direct the spy thriller Blackbird.

Critically acclaimed writer-director-playwright David Mamet, who wrote the script, was in line to direct, but he has passed the torch onto Romanek. However, it’s unclear where Blackbird’s priority ranks among Romanek’s many projects.

Mark Romanek Direct Blackbird Movie News Wrap Up: Ben Hur, Baby Driver, & More

Blackbird features Cate Blanchett as the granddaughter of a deceased special effects designer who moonlit as a government spy. The granddaughter eventually uncovers this secret, and a possible connection to the JFK assassination, thereby setting off the thriller’s plot.

Source: Tracking Board

The Fault in Our Stars star Ansel Elgort is in talks to join Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver.

Ansel Elgort in talks to Star Baby Driver Movie News Wrap Up: Ben Hur, Baby Driver, & More

If he is cast, Elgort will play a talented young getaway driver who finds himself on the run after a failed heist. And, in true Edgar Wright fashion, the driver will use his wheelman skills and a thumping soundtrack to try to get away clean.

After dropping out of Ant-Man, Wright has put his full focus into Baby Driver and it appears the film is nearing production, or at least it has a leading man. He may not be a recognizable name yet, but Elgort is on the rise and Baby Driver could be his breakout role.

Source: Variety

The Ben-Hur remake has seemingly found its Jesus in Rodrigo Santoro.

Rodrigo Santoro Cast Jesus Ben Hur Movie News Wrap Up: Ben Hur, Baby Driver, & More

The 300 actor is in negotiations to play the important religious figure, whose story runs parallel to that of Judah Ben-Hur. In fact, the Lew Wallace novel that this upcoming reboot adapts is titled Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ.

While most know Ben-Hur from the 1959 Charlton Heston film, this update will shine a new light on the story thanks to visionary director Timur Bekmambetov. Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston will star as the titular Jewish prince.

Source: Variety

In voice acting news, Matthew McConaughey joins an untitled animated feature for Illumination Entertainment and Mandy Patinkin signs on for The Smurfs reboot.

Matthew McConaughey and Mandy Patinkin Animated Films Movie News Wrap Up: Ben Hur, Baby Driver, & More

Not much is known about McConaughey’s film, only that it is set to release in 2016 and is billed as a music-driven event comedy. Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) will direct the film, his first animated feature.

Mandy Patinkin, on the other hand, will voice Papa Smurf for Sony’s upcoming The Smurfs reboot. The first film, an adaptation of the popular cartoon, was a success but its follow-up was not. However, rather than give the franchise some time to breathe, Sony has decided simply to pull a do-over.

Source: THR (1), (2)

Jennifer Lawrence and Francis Lawrence are planning to reteam for The Dive, based on the true story of free divers Francisco Ferraras and Audrey Mestre.

Jennifer Lawrence and Francis Lawrence Reteam The Dive Movie News Wrap Up: Ben Hur, Baby Driver, & More

The deals have not been made official, but all signs point to the Hunger Games star reuniting with her Catching Fire and Mockingjay director. If she does sign on, Lawrence will play Mestre.

Audrey Mestre gained fame for reaching world record depth on a single breath of air. However, her story is a tragic one, as she died while attempting to break her own record.

Source: The Wrap

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