A trio of casting news I’m excited about: Karl Urban, Rebecca Hall & Alessandro Nivola

Happy Midweek all!

I’ve got another director-related post nearly ready to go, but I thought I’d share a trio of casting news I heard this week that I’m excited about, all involving three talented underrated actors I’d love to see getting more work. So here goes.

Karl Urban’s cast in JJ Abrams’ futuristic drama pilot for FOX

Casting_KarlUrbanThe idea of seeing the ultra hunky Karl Urban on the TV screen is certainly a very enticing prospect. Deadline reported that after a lengthy negotiations, the 40-year-old New Zealander has closed a deal to star opposite Michael Ealy in Fox‘s untitled J.H. Wyman/J.J. Abrams drama pilot (formerly Inhuman). As you know, Abrams directed Urban as Bones in the Star Trek movie franchise, though I wish Urban had been given more screen time this time around. Anyway, though I’m a bit tired of seeing sooo many procedural shows on TV, I quite like the sound of this one. It’s billed an action-packed buddy cop show set in the near future when all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids.

Apparently Urban will play a human cop John Kennex and his partner Dorian (Ealy) is an android cop. Kennex is described as a respected police officer who has shut down emotionally after a tragic mission left him critically injured. The cast of the pilot also includes Lili Taylor and Minka Kelly (meh). Urban’s played a bad ass futuristic cop before in Dredd 3D, I’m just thrilled that this time we could actually see his entire face 😀 The show’ll be produced by Warner Bros TV and Abram’s production company Bad Robot. Let’s hope this one won’t tank like Abrams’ once-promising show Alcatraz.

Rebecca Hall joins Wally Pfister’s directorial debut Transcendence

Oh man, this film’s quickly become one of my most-anticipated for 2014!

Last week I heard that Johnny Depp nabbed the lead role in Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister’s first film, which already has Paul Bettany as well. Fans of Christopher Nolan’s films are certainly familiar with the Chicago native Pfister as he’s the cinematographer in seven of his films, including the Batman trilogy. Last year he was also nominated for his work in Moneyball. This time Nolan lends his support as an executive producer, along with his wife Emma Thomas and Aaron Ryder.

Now they’ve cast Rebecca Hall in the female lead as Depp’s wife in this sci-fi drama. Apparently she beat out Rooney Mara and Emily Blunt for the role (per Collider). Now, what’s this film about? According to IMDb, here’s the premise:

A story centered on a scientist whose brain is uploaded into his creation — a supercomputer with the potential to think for itself — after he is assassinated by anti-technology terrorists.

Hall has worked with Nolan before in The Prestige. I quite like her in that one, and also her work in The Town, Everything Must Go and Starter for 10 with James McAvoy. I personally would rather see her than the other two actresses. I like Blunt but I’m not too fond of Mara, plus those two have been getting more steady work than Hall anyways.

I have high hopes for this one, though it also has a first-time screenwriter Jack Paglen penning the script. For sure it’ll look amazing, but whether or not Wfister’s career as a director will take off or not remains to be seen. It’s set to open on April 25, 2014.

Alessandro Nivola joins a stellar cast for David O. Russell’s ABSCAM film

Casting_NivolaNow, last but not least. Nice to see Alessandro Nivola’s name being mentioned in this all-star cast. It’s still in the negotiation stage but I sure hope it would materialize! Per Deadline, Nivola is negotiating to join, get this, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams AND Jennifer Lawrence in the David O Russell-directed drama on the ABSCAM scandal. WOW, what a cast!! I don’t know if all of the cast are confirmed, four of them have gotten accolades (including Oscar) under Russell’s direction before. One interesting cast member is comedian Louis C.K.

Nivola will play Reggio, the federal prosecutor who tried the case in court. The Eric Singer-scripted drama is about the ’70s FBI sting operation Abscam that took down a bunch of U.S. congressmen.

The article also mentions Nivola other project he’s just wrapped that also sounds intriguing: Atom Egoyan-directed Devil’s Knot, a drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth. He plays Terry Hobbs, a stepfather of one of the three murdered children, who later became a focus of suspicion though he has denied any part in the triple murder and has not been brought up on charges. Glad to see Nivola getting more work, I mean people seems to only know him as Pollux Troy in Face/Off! He’s actually quite versatile, he was very good in Laurel Canyon, Mansfield Park, Junebug, and Coco Before Chanel. Those are pretty diverse roles and he pulled off every single one convincingly. He even sang in Junebug and he has a nice voice!

Well, what do you think about any of these actors and/or projects? Any one of them appeal to you?

27 thoughts on “A trio of casting news I’m excited about: Karl Urban, Rebecca Hall & Alessandro Nivola

  1. Love all three of these talents especially Urban and Hall! Bummed that Urban is taking a TV show mainly because he deserves to be in more films. He is a really good actor but Hollywood tends to skip by him. Sad! A big Urban fan. Hall is also very good and she is just waiting to break out big time. Great actress!

    1. Glad to hear Keith! I’d love to see Urban doing more films too, but I do like this sci-fi idea. I wish Urban and Hall would hit it big already, both are massively talented.

      1. I know one reason that you and my wife like Karl Urban (wink, wink). I just think he’s good in everything he’s in even movies that are a bit lacking. Take Doom for instance. It was a violent, bloody mess in some places but Urban was great!

  2. Ted S.

    I was never a fan of any of JJ Abrams’ TV shows but this new sounds interesting. I love futuristic crime story.

    I’m little hesitant about Wally Pfister’s flick but the casting is good so far. A first time director and writer working on a high concept story doesn’t always turn out well. But with Nolan involvement, he may have some input into the movie.

    1. Yeah, I think the casting and story of that FOX show is what really grabbed me, I’d love to see a futuristic crime story done well, like Minority Report.

      I’m hopeful Pfister will do well but you’re right, seems rather ambitious for a first project. But then again, maybe Nolan could give him some directing pointers 😉

  3. Great post. All talented actors and very interesting projects. Hope Wally Pfister does well as a director. He’s a fantastic cinematographer. His movie sounds very intriguing.

    And the cast for that ABSCAM movie: WOW! Amazing. Hope it happens.

    1. Yes, all very talented yet underrated actors! Yeah, Pfister is certainly an amazing cinematographer, I don’t know how many of them have made it into a good director. That’ll be a question for ardent movie fans 😀

      And yeah, I hope that ABSCAM cast would all sign on, well I could give or take Renner but the rest are solid!

  4. Ohhh the most exciting news for me here is about Hall, she is such a great actress and she should be getting more interesting roles. Hopefully Depp can still step up and remind people he has talent.

    1. I’m thrilled you like her too! I like Blunt but Hall just hasn’t been in nearly as many films. Yeah, at least in this one Depp is not hidden in weird makeup and costumes. I like him in more ‘normal’ roles like in Nick of Time. It’s not a great film but he’s actually pretty good!

  5. Very fine heads-up on all of these Ruth. I’d be interested in seeing them all. Particularly that David O. Russell film. I was hoping to see DeNiro’s name in that cast though. But I suppose you can’t have everything 😉

    1. Hey De Niro might still pop up later on, maybe in a cameo? 😀 That cast is amazing isn’t it, and I quite like the premise of the film too!

  6. The tv show doesn’t sound that enticing to me. I mean, perhaps with JJ behind it could be something good, but it just sounds so generic to me. Transcendence sounds very intriguing. Hopefully it will live up to its potential.

    And the cast for ABSCAM looks insane. I do hope Russel doesn’t pair up Bradley and Lawrence again. I mean they had great chemistry in SLP but, but considering the will be paired in at least one other film coming out soon i think audiences may get tired of it soon.

    1. I sure hope Transcendence lives up to its potential, it’d be a shame if it isn’t!

      You’re right I hope the nature of Bradley and Jennifer is different this time around. I didn’t even know they’re pairing up for yet another film!

  7. The JJ Abrams pilot interests me as well as his stable relationship with Fox. And how great his characters are.

    I’m also happy about the Alessandro Nivola casting especially because David O. can gather such a great cast instead of being Hollywood’s pariah.

    1. Hi Paolo, nice to see you stop by! I really hope this time around Abram’s show would take off, I had high hopes for Alcatraz and it went kaput in no time.

      Yeah, O. Russell seems to have a knack for casting great actors, I hope it’d bode well for Nivola’s career. The guy deserves it!

  8. I’m really excited about Pfister’s debut. He has been a really great cinemtographer and I can only imagine his direction will be great as well, especially after working so long with Nolan. And to top it off, he has a great trio of actors now: Depp, Bettany and Hall (all of whom I like). That’s definitely a movie to look out for next year.

    1. Let’s hope he lives up to your expectations Josh. I really don’t know if being a great cinematographer means it’ll be a smooth transition to being a good director, but hey it certainly could happen. The cast is very good indeed, so at least he’s started out in the right direction!

  9. I never really payed any attention to Karl Urban until Dredd. He’s quite a fine actor.
    I just realized he’s the same dude that plays Bones in Star Trek. Two very different roles.

    1. Oh Karl is awesome! He was great in RED too, I think he’d make an excellent Bond, he’s my pick anyway but now he might be too old for the role.

  10. I’m most excited about Transcendence. Finally, Depp is taking a (likely) good role, and I’m also happy for Hall. She deserves more leading roles.

    1. Yeah, I like the idea of Depp looking like himself instead of being covered up in goo, er I mean makeup 😀 Oh glad you like Hall too. I’ve actually been meaning to ask you if you wouldn’t mind reading a pitch I made a while ago with Hall in the female lead. I’ll send it to you over Twitter DM.

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