Today's batch of casting updates concerns the revisionist fairy tale flick, Snow White and the Huntsman; the Bourne franchise spin-off, The Bourne Legacy; and an adaptation of Max Brooks' popular zombie tale, World War Z.
Out of those three titles, Snow White and the Huntsman has been the most buzzed-about in recent weeks, following its Comic Con 2011 panel and the release of character banners that teased the gritty nature of the project.
While Charlize Theron was cast as the Evil Queen/Stepmother to Snow White (Kristen Stewart) in Huntsman last year, THR has learned that the roles of the princess' biological parents have just recently been filled. Model Liberty Ross will portray Snow's mother, while Noah Huntley (who recently played a small role in Your Highness) is up to play her father. Needless to say, like Sean Bean in Tarsem Singh's Snow White movie, neither one is expected to be around for long in the film.
Huntsman is certainly an intriguing departure from the original fairy tale, what with its Lord of the Rings-inspired fantasy-adventure plot and stylishly grim character design. While both Stewart being cast as Snow White and Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman make this all the more of a bankable project, it stands to reason that the former's involvement is kind of a mixed blessing - since her association with the Twilight franchise tends to inspire love/hate reactions from people.
For now, the real question is: Will Snow White get to kick more butt in Huntsman or Disney's yes-this-is-real martial arts spin on the fairy tale, The Order of the Seven?
The Bourne Legacy
Early reactions to Tony Gilroy's planned expansion of the Jason Bourne movie universe, with The Bourne Legacy, have by and large been mixed at best, negative at worst. That's in spite of the high caliber of the film's cast, which looks to include Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, and Edward Norton, among others.
According to Variety, Stacy Keach (Warden Henry Pope from Prison Break) is the latest addition to the Bourne Legacy acting team. The Golden Globe-winner is said to have a role similar to those of Joan Allen and Albert Finney in the film - presumably, meaning that he will be a member of the government who is somehow involved with the secret program that trained individuals like Renner's character and Oscar Isaac's brain-washed assassin.
Bourne Legacy is shaping up to be an intelligent thriller on its own terms, given the top notch cast and the involvement of Gilroy as writer and director. The biggest issue with the project, as it stands, is whether or not it can really distinguish itself from previous Bourne flicks - or just end up feeling like a retread, starring Jeremy Renner instead of Matt Damon.
World War Z
Marc Forster began filming his adaptation of the novel World War Z about a month or two ago, with Brad Pitt starring as a U.N. worker who travels the globe in order to interview survivors of the recent zombpocalypse. So, naturally, one might assume that casting on the film is complete - and would, subsequently, be incorrect.
THR has learned that Bryan Cranston recently began talks for a "small but flashy" role in Forster's big-budgeted literary adaptation. For those keeping score, that means World War Z looks to become one of several noteworthy upcoming titles that'll feature an appearance by the Breaking Bad star - alongside Contagion, Red Tails, John Carter, Rock of Ages, Total Recall, and likely Argo as well.
Concerns about the plans for World War Z to be a PG-13 rated zombie pic aside, the project looks and sounds appealing so far. It appears that Forster is designing the film as more of a realistic drama about what the aftermath of a global pandemic could actually be like (similar to Brooks' source material). That the "disease" in question turns people into flesh-eating monsters is almost secondary to that aspect.
Snow White and the Huntsman will arrive in U.S. theaters on June 1st, 2012.
The Bourne Legacy is scheduled to hit theaters on August 3rd, 2012.
World War Z has yet to snag an official release date, but is aiming to reach theaters by Summer 2012.