Today's casting news roundup concerns three actress that have (in turn) signed on for Disney's prequel-ish Oz: The Great and Powerful, Lionsgate's sequel-ish Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, and Warner Bros.' original flick, Pacific Rim.
Sam Raimi will commence with principal photography on his Wizard of Oz film in Michigan before the month is out. The expensive fantasy project will reunite the director with his Spider-Man trilogy star James Franco (as the young "wizard of Oz") and his longtime musical composer, Danny Elfman.
Heat Vision has learned that Abagail Spencer is the latest addition to the cast of Oz. The actress, perhaps best known for her turn as Suzanne Farrell in the third season of Mad Men, will also be appearing onscreen in Cowboys & Aliens later this month and The Haunting in Georgia, possibly later this year.
Oz begins with Franco's "wizard" making his living as a womanizing shyster in Kansas, when he's forced to flee the land in his hot air balloon after being caught "fraternizing" with a customer's wife (Spencer?). Once he reaches the land somewhere over the rainbow, Oz gets involved with a trio of beautiful witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams). Suffice it to say, trouble continues to ensue.
Stars like Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp were being eyed to portray the youthful Oz at different points, but the two eventually proved too busy to be locked down for the part. That may be for the best, though, seeing how there are actually other actors capable of playing handsome oddballs out there. Hopefully, Franco will prove himself to be one of them.
Fans of Guillermo del Toro were pleased when his sci-fi action flick, Pacific Rim, officially secured a release date, essentially ensuring that he will actually direct another film in the near future. After his departure from The Hobbit and the collapse of At the Mountains of Madness, it started to seem like that would never happen again.
Casting for Pacific Rim is still ongoing, and Collider has learned that Oscar-nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel, The Brothers Bloom) is now signed on for the film as well. Kikuchi looks to star as Mako Mori, the Japanese pilot who is forced to team up with protagonist Raleigh Antrobus (Charlie Hunnam) in humanity's battle against gigantic monsters that invade Earth. Idris Elba will play the pair's commander, while Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) is set to portray a scientist who attempts to locate the source of the invasive creatures.
The prospect of del Toro lending his creative sensibilities to a big-budget sci-fi monster movie that boasts an overall excellent cast and reads as being a cross between Aliens and a variety of Japanese anime... well, it is a tempting one. Pacific Rim won't arrive until the summer of 2013, but so far it looks to be well worth the wait.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D
Variety says that Percy Jackson franchise alumnus Alexandra Daddario is in final negotiations to star in Lionsgate's Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, a project that's been described as part sequel to Tobe Hooper's original 1974 movie, part franchise reboot.
Assuming the previously-reported Chainsaw Massacre 3D plot details are accurate, Daddario is set to handle the role of Heather, a character described as being "a bit of a hornbag... [whose] taste for things of a darker nature" in part attracts her to the bizarre entity that is Leatherface and his cannibalistic family. Without spoiling anything, the film deviates from the structure of previous Texas Chainsaw Massacre pics (be it the original, sequels, or Platinum Dunes' 2003 remake) with a mystery plot that concerns the legacy of the Leatherface character.
Takers director John Lussenhop is helming the 3D project, which was originally scripted by Adam Marcus and Debra Sullivan (Conspiracy) before Lussenhop and Kirsten Elms (the TV movie Banshee) did polish work on the screenplay. Besides laying the foundation for future installments in the horror franchise, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is expected to exploit its 3D element to the max (re: lots of guts and gore flying out at the camera).
If all that sounds like your cup of tea, well, more power to you.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D is scheduled to reach theaters on October 5th, 2012.
Oz: The Great and Powerful is slated for theatrical release on March 8th, 2013.
Pacific Rim will make its way into theaters on July 12th, 2013.