This week:

Russell Crowe will make his directorial debut with The Water Diviner; Jason Schwartzman joins the cast of Tim Burton’s Big Eyes; Bad Teacher 2 is in development; Anne Hathaway will produce and star in The Lifeboat; Helena Bonham Carter has been cast in Cinderella; and Star Wars: Episode 7 will shoot in the UK’s Pinewood studios.

Man of Steel star Russell Crowe is in talks to direct and star in The Water Diviner, based off a script by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios.

The film follows an Australian father (presumably Crowe) who travels to Turkey to find his two sons after they go missing during the battle of Gallipoli. The film will reportedly start shooting in Australia and Turkey later this year.

Crowe has been looking to break into directing for years, with each of his potential projects focusing on Australian characters. But clearly, something about The Water Diviner has caught Crowe’s eye.

Source: Deadline

Jason Schwartzman has been cast in Tim Burton’s upcoming drama Big Eyes, which also stars Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz.

Big Eyes tells the true story of painter Margaret Keane (Adams) and her husband Walter (Waltz), who took credit for his wife’s work. While fighting for a divorce, Margaret challenged Walter to a paint-off in order to prove her talents. Those talents, as you might guess, included a proclivity for painting characters with abnormally large eyes.

Schwartzman will play the character of Ruben in the film, a San Francisco-based gallery owner. Producer Harvey Weinstein had this to say of Schwartzman’s involvement:

“Jason has been part of such a diverse list of intelligent, often whimsical films during his career and makes an exciting addition to this already fantastic cast.”

Source: The Wrap

Earlier this week, Columbia Pictures announced Bad Teacher 2 is in development with Jake Kasdan returning to direct.

In place of screenwriters Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg (The Office), Columbia has hired untested screenwriter Justin Malen. Columbia president of production Hannah Minghella says Malen’s take “hits all the notes that made the first film such a breakthrough hit and also takes the characters in a new direction that is fresh and fun.” The first film featured a talented supporting cast that included Jason Segal, Justin Timberlake, and Lucy Punch.

The announcement of Bad Teacher 2 comes as a bit of a shock, considering CBS has a Bad Teacher TV series slated to debut next season with Ari Gaynor in the Cameron Diaz role. Speaking of Diaz, Columbia would like her to return for the sequel, but a deal has not yet been reached.

Oscar winner Anne Hathaway has signed on to produce and star in The Lifeboat, an adaptation of the novel by Charlotte Rogan.

The Lifeboat‘s story centers on a character named Grace Winter who is on trial for murder in 1914. During her trial, Winter recounts her story, which includes the sinking of a ship called Empress and her struggle to stay alive while on a crowded lifeboat.

If we had to guess, we’d say it’s a safe bet Hathaway is looking to play Grace Winter. William Broyles Jr. (Apollo 13) will write the film’s script, but a director has not yet been signed.

Source: THR

Helena Bonham Carter has joined the cast of Disney’s Cinderella as the fairy godmother.

We’ve been fed a regular diet of Cinderella casting news as of late, starting with Lily James signing on to play Cinderella, Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) nabbing the prince role, and now Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother. Before that, though, Disney had secured Kenneth Branagh to direct and signed Cate Blanchett to play the wicked stepmother.

At the rate things are going with casting, we wouldn’t be surprised if the evil step sisters were cast within the next week or two.

Although filming doesn’t get underway until early next year, Star Wars: Episode 7 has already secured Pinewood studios for part of the shoot.

Screen Daily reports production is already moving in to Pinewood to prepare, while casting for the highly-anticipated sequel is underway. Earlier this week a leaked casting breakdown hit the Web that may or mat not have hinted at the film’s new characters.

Pinewood has a strong connection to the Star Wars franchise, as both the original trilogy and the prequels were filmed partially on its premises. As far as forthcoming features are concerned, Pinewood will also play home to future films like Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers 2, and Cinderella.

Star Wars: Episode 7 is slated for a summer 2015 release date.

Source: Screen Daily