While his role as young Magneto in X-Men: First Class has made him a hot-in-demand star, Michael Fassbender isn't moving away from indie fare - and will collaborate with writer/director Steve McQueen for a third time on the lower-budgeted, true-story historical drama, 12 Years a Slave.
Meanwhile, the search is on for an actress to play the Clint Eastwood's daughter in the Hollywood icon's return-to-acting, Trouble with the Curve. Word has it that an Oscar-winning starlet has already begun talks with Eastwood and the film's helmer (Robert Lorenz) about her taking on the role.
Both 12 Years a Slave and Trouble with the Curve look to begin by production in early 2012 - with both aiming to reach theaters in time for next year's awards season. The latter will be the higher-profile release (what with Eastwood starring) but Fassbender's involvement should help attract attention to McQueen's project.
12 Years a Slave
Fassbender really started to earn attention for his acting chops following his physically-daunting turn as a prisoner on hunger strike in McQueen's Hunger. He's been earning even more attention for his performance in the director's new film, Shame, which - along with David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method - looks to earn Fassbender additional critical accolades during these last few months of 2011.
Variety says that Fassbender will costar in 12 Years a Slave, which tells the real-life story of African-American Solomon Northrup: a New Yorker who was kidnapped in 1841, enslaved, and forced to work on a Louisiana cotton plantation until 1853. Chiewetel Ejiofor (Children of Men, 2012) is onboard to portray Mr. Northrup in McQueen's period drama.
That's a solid one-two punch of casting there, what with the generally-reliable Ejiofor and Fassbender locked down for 12 Years (pun intended). Combine that with word that the script was co-penned by McQueen and John Ridley (Red Tails) and this already sounds it could be a refreshingly serious examination of slavery in 19th-century America.
On that note: Seeing how 12 Years a Slave could hit theaters not too long before (or after) Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained arrives, it'll be all the more interesting to see the two filmmakers' respective visions of the Old U.S. South. Suffice it to say, they should be fairly different, but fascinating in their own ways.
Trouble with the Curve
Sandra Bullock started appearing more often in serious or "artsy" dramas even before she snagged an Oscar for her turn in The Blide Side - see: her appearing in the Best Picture-winner Crash and the biographical pic, Infamous. Now, it's looking like she'll be focusing on films of a higher-pedigree.
Case in point: Bullock next costars in the heartstring-tugging 9/11 drama, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, this winter; is set to headline Alfonso Cuarón's dramatic sci-fi thriller Gravity next year; and could now be up to portray the daughter of an elderly baseball scout with failing eyesight (Clint Eastwood) in Trouble with the Curve.
Twitch has it on good authority that Bullock has been approached to take the part by Eastwood and Trouble helmer Robert Lorenz - who has frequently served as the assistant director on Eastwood's past directorial efforts. If she does sign on, then Trouble with the Curve is all but guaranteed to hit theaters before the end of 2012... and, if Warner Bros. gets its way, snag plenty of awards nods and prizes when it does.
Awards talk aside, Trouble with the Curve sounds promising enough and could be a fitting return vehicle for Eastwood. Hopefully, it won't mark the last time we see the actor responsible for bringing such characters as "The Man with No Name" and "Dirty" Harry Callahan to life onscreen.
We'll keep an eye for updates on both 12 Years a Slave and Trouble with the Curve as more information is released.
Source: Variety, Twitch