Question of the week: Which casting news are you excited about from the past few weeks?

Hello everyone! I’m planning of launching a Casting News Roundup series in the coming weeks, something I’d update a couple times a month. I even made the banner already 😉


Casting can make or break a film and to me, casting is a big part of whether I want to see a certain film or not. Of course the story and genre are essential, and sometimes the directors are the ones that get me to see a certain movie. But for the most part, the actors have the biggest influence in the movie selling process to me.

Well, let me start off with a couple of casting news that piqued my interest. One is a remake of one of my favorite films of all time: Ben-Hur. I’ve blogged about the rumor that Tom Hiddleston was offered the role, well it seems that he’s passed on it and now Jack Huston has been cast as the Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur.


Now I would’ve loved to see Hiddles in this role and that’d undoubtedly put my butt on the seat but y’know what, I don’t mind seeing Huston in this role. I’ve only seen him in American Hustle, but TV fans are likely familiar with him from his role as the scary-looking Richard Harrow in Boardwalk Empire. Huston’s got quite an acting pedigree, being the grandson of director John Huston and nephew of Angelica Huston. I like that he’s got one of those chameleon-like face, he reminds me of a young, pre-Jack Sparrow Johnny Depp. I’m curious to see what he could do with the role and what that means for his career.

TobyKebbellMessalaNow the Messala casting came soon after, with Toby Kebbell (Mr. Rocknrolla himself) taking on the friend-turned-foe Roman soldier. I like Kebbell, he was pretty good in War Horse and he did a terrific mo-cap work as Koba in this year’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Well, so far I like the casting of these two young Brits, they may not be as well-known yet but they’ve churned out pretty good performances so far. Before these two main castings were announced, Morgan Freeman was cast as Ilderim [renamed Ildarin in the new film apparently] as the Arab sheik whose chariot Ben-Hur rode in the epic chariot race. I LOVE Hugh Griffith in the original, but think Mr. Freeman would add the right amount of gravitas for the role. I just hope the film itself will prove to be a swords & sandals epic worthy of the cast and the incredible story it’s based on.

Well, TV fans should know by now about this news. More and more film actors are now coming to TV, in fact I think the lines between TV and Film actors are blurred now, and I personally think a good actor should be able to juggle multiple mediums. A lot of my fave actors balance stage, film, and TV work seamlessly.

In any case, so Colin Farrell has now joined True Detective 2.

ColinFarrell_TrueDetective2He’s quoted at Buzzfeed as saying:

I know it will be eight episodes and take around four or five months to shoot. I know very little about it, but we’re shooting in the environs of Los Angeles which is great. It means I get to stay at home and see the kids.

The article also says that Rachel McAdams and Elisabeth Moss are apparently vying for the role opposite him. I still need to see this series [yes I know, I should get on that!], but I knew it’d be tough to follow up Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Colin’s been in a bunch of hit and miss projects but generally I like him, I think he is a talented actor and he should do well in this series.

Other casting news: Apparently former Dr Who Matt Smith is going to play Mr. Collins in the Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. WOW, how long has that movie been in development hell?? I blogged about it back in 2009 when Natalie Portman was attached to play Lizzie Bennet.


So what do you think of these casting choices? If you have other casting news you’re excited about, do share!

65 thoughts on “Question of the week: Which casting news are you excited about from the past few weeks?

  1. Colin Farrell in True Detective is the most exciting of the casting news. I like Jack Huston but I don’t want to see a remake of Ben-Hur. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was a project that had been in development hell for years. I don’t think it will be very good.

    1. Yeah I think Colin would do well in TD2. Well I’ve sort of given up on being frustrated about Ben-Hur being remade, I mean it’s inevitable every classic is gonna be remade anyway. I’m curious about it though I know in my heart it’ll never top the 1959 version.

  2. Looking forward to Season 2 of True Detective. Can’t see how they’d really mess that up with casting with Nic Pizzolatto showrunning the series although I think Moss is a much stronger actress than McAdams. She was pretty great in Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake series on Sundance.

    Gotta say I’m not a big fan of the sword and sandals/biblical thing other than maybe Spartacus. Ben Hur is one of those films that shouldn’t be remade in my opinion and I’m really not sure Timur Bekmambetov is the right director for the job especially after Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. You know what I mean?

    Really the only casting news I’m curious about is Fargo and Better Call Saul. There’s no high profile movie project I have my eye on currently.

    1. Yeah, Timur is an odd choice for Ben-Hur remake, I’ve said that in my initial post when Hiddles was still a contender. But this is a post about casting and so I’ve set my opinion on him aside. I sure hope he can do the story justice but yes I know what you mean that he’s not the person I’d choose to direct this.

      So I presume Martin Freeman won’t be back for future Fargo series? Sorry I’m generally not up on TV casting since I hardly watch ’em. I am curious about True Detective [though I haven’t seen it either] for some reason though.

  3. Ted S.

    Can’t say I’m that interested in any of the casting news lately. I have yet to watch season 1 of True Detectives, still waiting for it to come to Netflix. I’m not surprised that Colin is doing TV now since the studio realized they can’t bet money on big films with him a the lead; Alexander, Miami Vice and Total Recall were all very expensive movies and all tanked at the box office. Maybe he’ll turn around his career like Mathew M. did by appearing in the show.

    After Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I have no faith in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Being that I’m a big fan of the zombies genre and enjoyed the book quite a bit, I kind of wish they won’t make the film version. I also enjoyed Vampire Hunter book but I turned off the movie about 30 minutes in, Bekmambetov is just a hack. I think he still believe he’s in the early 90s and 2000s since his movies still contains those slo-mo action scenes and wire-fu.

    1. I’m still waiting for TD too! Yep you’re right about Farrell, he’s been in a lot of expensive duds.

      Ha..ha.. yes I think your opinion on Timur is loud and clear Ted. Well let’s just say if I were to see the Ben-Hur remake it wouldn’t be because of the director. So far I like the cast though.

  4. Excited about Colin Farrell in True Detective, very excited. Though, it’s going to be really tough to top the first season and the chemistry between Harrelson and McConoughey. They were excellent together. I guess it depends on what storyline they’re going for in the second season. Be ecstatic if Elisabeth Moss is cast as well. She’s fantastic in Mad Men!

    1. Yeah I think no matter who they’d cast, it’d be tough to top Harrelson & McConaughey. Seems that Moss is people’s choice for this casting, I’ve never seen her in anything but I trust that she is good!

  5. Great new series, I like this because I love hearing who is going to be in what and what is in the works. You just made my day I have been dying to know who would be in the next season of True Detective. I vote for Moss as well, hopefully she gets picked! If you are going to be on TD you need some grit and Moss definitely has the acting chops for it. I love Jack Huston! One of my fave Boardwalk characters!

    1. Hey, glad to hear you like this series idea 😀 I LOVE casting news, I’ve secretly wanted to be a casting manager, well who doesn’t right? 😉

      So you like Colin Farrell? I forgot if you do or not, but generally I think he’s a good actor. Jack Huston is another Brit that’s been on my watch lately, he’s got an interesting face, not to mention pedigree. His character on Boardwalk is quite intriguing!

      1. Oh I know right, I would love to do that for a living, we could be partners and open our own agency. We’d have the coolest actors ever. But seriously you would be good at that. I love hearing that news, so yes bring it girl!

        Yeah I like him… I have mixed feelings on him, I think he is a good actor, but he has made some crappy choices. Like Winter’s Tale and Ondine (I wanted to kill myself with that movie). But I think he is talented and if he wants to bring it, he can, so let’s hope he does. Did you see Season 1? Jack is a brit how did I not know that?! Yeah he is really interesting and I want to see him in more roles, I think he can handle it. 🙂 YAY we always agree, well usually!

        PS… (NO TOBY MENTIONS what?)

        1. Oh man, if I had all the money in the world … Yeah we should both partner up & open an agency like this one 😀

          Yeah, Colin is not the kind of actor that immediately puts my butt on the seat, y’know what I mean? Did I tell you I saw him at Comic-con back in 2012? He was promoting Total Recall w/ Kate Beckinsale. He seems like a playful guy and he’s pretty good looking, but somehow he doesn’t get me all feverish the way Toby does 😉

          Jack is actually part American [as Angelica & Danny Huston are] but he was raised in England. I think his maternal side is British Royalty, so he’s got an amazing pedigree in terms of acting talent and status.

          1. Oh nice I just scrolled through that list! I recognize a lot of these actors, hello Sam H!

            Oh you did how cool! I agree with you he’s okay and he is nice looking, but he def does not get me excited. I doubt he is in anyone’s top 10 actors list. I actually brought that up to my husband yesterday and he was saying that Vince Vaughn could actually be really good because he used to make gritty movies, but with Colin he was not happy that he is in it.

            I had no idea!! But of course I can count on you to school me. Seeing him in that Austen-ish role that was soooooo cool, I was not expecting that at all from him. He is seriously my fave guy on Boardwalk… do you watch it??!! (That is not Ruth-ish)

            1. Ahah yeah, so apparently both Sam & Toby share the same agency, interesting that both ended up w/ Starz. Man what I would give to be the executive in Starz right now 😛

              Vince Vaughn seems to be in a lot of silly comedies lately, but maybe his career would get rejuvenated once he’s in TD, he seems decent in dramatic roles.

              I didn’t know either, I just started googling him after seeing him cast in Ben-Hur. So I suppose he’s perfect playing Jewish royalty (it’s Prince Judah Ben-Hur) then considering his background 😉 I REALLY want to see Boardwalk, I LOVE that era, the Prohibition period is just so intriguing but yeah, might be too violent for me. Seriously I’m such a wimp!! 😀

              P.S. Did you see my link to Hearts Want? Sorry to be a pest but I’d LOVE for you to read it and let me know. I so want to see something like that get made, a romance thriller I mean. It’s got a bit of dark moments in it, but there’s also a love story.

              1. Oh yes imagine working at Starz, you would have the hottest guys in the coolest shows. Please go sign up! lol

                Boardwalk is ssoooo good, probably my favorite next to Game of Thrones. It just has a different element to it, the writing is so good, the cinematography, pretty much everything. But it is quite violent, much more than Black Sails. Lots of crazy stuff happens on that show, I find myself cringing at times. You can tell it is a Scorsese production for sure with that type of violence. So if you do watch it have your pillow ready.

                Let me go read it! Sorry today has been hectic and I am trying to leave in a bit to go get ready and go downtown for tonight.

                1. Hello again dahling! I think I’d really like Boardwalk but I’m afraid I’d close my eyes so much I’d only be watching like a 1/4 of each episode, ha..ha.. I guess it’s a gangster story during Prohibition era so I can see how it’d be violent. Heh, even Jack’s face is so scary as Richard Harrow! I guess that’s harrow for ‘harrowing’? 🙂

                  Ooooh thank you for taking the time to read it! WOW, Dragon Tattoo? Well my story is not nearly as dark as that, no rape & stuff that’s for sure, but yeah in terms of family secrets there is a lot going on. Can’t wait to hear what you think once you get to the end 😛

              2. Very cool just read first half, I will read the rest tomorrow… so I can read it some more and digest it. So far I am liking it and it reminds me of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo..I don’t know why but it reminds me of that type of family with lots of secrets like the Vangers….ohhh girllllll this is good.

  6. Hm, well I think Farrell will work in TD, shame it won’t be a female duo as they promised at first…as for others I don’t really have much interest in those but Huston was great on Boardwalk Empire

    1. Hi Sati! Oh I didn’t know they wanted to have a female duo. Heh that’s a shame that they changed their mind then. Who would you choose if you were to cast a female duo for TD? Rosamund Pike & Emily Blunt? 😉

      1. Oh that would be amazing pairing! They would be too beautiful together though, the criminals would just admit to whatever they did upon seeing these two together 🙂

        1. Ahah yeah, the criminals would probably WANT to get caught by those two hot female detectives! In any case, I’d love to see those two talented & beautiful Brits pair up for a movie.

  7. I had just heard about the Jack Huston thing, too. I sort of agree that the 1959 version is sort of frozen in time with Charlton Heston still standing, legs akimbo, on that floating bit of ship debris. No one can top him in it. But Jack Huston has fascinated me since I saw him playing that charming young doctor in Miss Austen Regrets. I wouldn’t blame Mz. A for casting her eye at him, at all. If you haven’t seen it, it’s on Youtube, in pieces, and this one has Jack spouting Spanish subtitles, but it starts with one of his scenes. Glad to have him not get stuck in villain mode. I liked Elizabeth Moss in Top of the Lake, too! Thanks for the updates on the other ones! And I’m following your site now, so I won’t get behind so often.

    1. Hi Jenny, welcome to FC! Yeah, Heston will always be Ben-Hur to me and that 1959 version is simply a masterpiece. For a long time I resented the idea of Hollywood remaking it but y’know what, it’s inevitable so now I’m just shrugging it off. The casting does intrigue me so hopefully it’ll be worthwhile on that front.

      Oooh so THAT’s Jack Huston! I just watched Miss Austen Regrets not that long ago, I really like him in that. Thanks for the clip btw, he’s quite dreamy in this one, man I LOVE men in cravats 😉

      Yes I’m glad he’s not just playing villains, I think he’d make a good Ben-Hur.

      Hope to see you around more, Jenny!

  8. Though I haven’t seen the first series yet, Vince Vaughn for True Detective really caught my attention. Whether the writers make his character suit his dry-wit improvisation or more purely dramatic will be interesting.
    I guess this is more tv casting news than movies, but Portia De Rossi getting cast for Scandal is exciting. She’s had a run at a lot of tv shows that have gotten canceled, so I hope her character doesn’t make an unfortunate exit too soon!

    1. Hi Katy, always glad to see you stop by! So Vaughn has been cast then? Last I heard he was only in the running. Oh TD is also a TV casting news so it’s perfectly ok 🙂 I first saw De Rossi as Nell in Ally McBeal, boy that show is such a hoot!

  9. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    Here’s a curve ball.

    So far, FOX’s ‘Gotham’ pretty much rocks out loud as a well executed example of getting as much right as possible. Long before the introduction of its iconic character, Batman.

    Ben McKenzie can take care of himself as a young, fresh to corrupt city central. With Donal Logue, tailor made as slovenly, troubled Det, Harvey Bullock. The unknowns playing young super villains have their baggage in place. Especially, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle. Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, Corey Michael Smith as Edward Nygma. And John Doman (‘The Wire’) as Carmine Falcone. The only characters not fully fleshed out are Jada Pinkett Smith as crime Mistress, Fish Mooney. And Jon Beavers as the future “Joker”.

    The crowded, cramped, dirty cityscape looks supplied by the first ‘Batman’ flick with Michael Keaton. And rightly, Daviid Mazouz and Sean Pertwee confidently hold the reins as young Bruce Wayne and his butler, Alfred Pennyworth.

    1. Hi Kevin! I was asking about casting on future projects but hey, glad to hear your thoughts on GOTHAM 😀 I enjoyed it too, it was better than I expected [i had such a low expectations given how other comic-book shows have failed to keep me tuning in]. We’ll see how long I’d continue to see this one, but so far I like Ben McKenzie as Gordon which is crucial as he’s the lead. The supporting cast are pretty good, esp John Doman as Falcone & Jada as Fish Mooney, oh and I thought Bicondova reminds me a bit of Michelle Pfeiffer so I guess that’s a good thing. Nice to see a tougher Alfred too.

      1. jackdeth72

        Hi, Ruth:

        And now for something completely in line with your superlative topic:

        Joseph Gordon-Levitt has expressed a desire. Or may be in negotiations with Oliver Stone. To play security breaching uber hacker and world wide asylum seeker, Gregory Snowden in Stone’s next director effort.

        A great opportunity for Mr. Gordon-Levitt! Though, I’m not a huge fan of Stone. To whom he and the truth are just passing acquaintances. And may be ripe for another conspiracy laden mess, like ‘JFK’ to put him on the map again. But, with today’s miserably unreliable “new” media. Who really knows what the truth is?

        Food for thought. Since Benedict Cumberbatch’s recent take on Julian Assange didn’t really pan out very well at the box office.

        Shift gears, I think Vince Vaughn signing on to ‘True Detective’ may be just what the doctor ordered to get him back into drama. And away from juvenile comedies.

        1. Oh yeah I just saw that news too. You mean Edward Snowden right, not Gregory 😉 I’m not a fan of Stone either but I think Levitt seems like a good casting. Bummer Cumberbatch’s The Fifth Estate wasn’t too good, it was definitely a flawed film despite the intriguing subject matter.

          1. jackdeth72


            Yes. Edward Snowden.

            Mr. Cumberbatch has accrued enough kudos and cred with ‘Sherlock’. That ‘The Fifth Estate’ isn’t going to bother him that much. And Mr. Gordon-Levitt is ready for the big leagues. I’m just not sure that a vehicle with Oliver Stone at the wheel is the best way to achieve it.

    1. Ahah yeah, crazy concept isn’t it? But apparently the book got good reviews and I can see it being entertaining, if they do it well that is. I love period dramas so seeing a twisted adaptation like that piques my interest. No casting news for Cillian lately?

  10. Sounds like a fun new series, Ruth! I think casting is what also convinces me to go see something too. It probably comes as no surprise to you, but I’m most excited about the Matt Smith news, despite how long that movie has been up in the air. I hope that they’re now settled and actually going to make that book into a movie! I’m also disappointed to hear that Hiddleston won’t be playing Ben-Hur, but I imagine it will still be pretty good nonetheless.

    1. Hi Kris! Oh you’re a big Dr Who fan right? Did I tell you Matt Smith was at Mpls Comic Con earlier this year? I sat to the right of the stage so got a pretty clear view. He seems like a fun, playful guy.

      I wish Hiddles had been Ben-Hur but hey, I think Jack Huston should get a chance to lead a film. He’s very talented and I hope his star power continues to rise!

      1. Hey! Well, I’m definitely a fan, although I’d say my hubby is the BIG Dr. Who fan, ahaha. Really? Aww, I’m so jealous! Been wanting to meet him. That is the second con I’ve heard he’s been at that I’ve missed.

          1. Haha, yes he does! Although I think Tennant is his favorite Doctor . . . you’d have to ask him though! Ooo, that would be a lot of fun. Thanks for the link.

            We need to do some film event together in the future!

  11. Hi Ruth! Sorry I’ve been away for so long 🙂 I’m really not sure what to make of the True Detective news. I loved the first season but I’m not convinced Colin Farrell has the same power as McConaughy or Harrelson. I’m rooting for Moss to get the role though, I think she’s fantastic. I just watched McAdams in A Most Wanted Man and she’s carving out a nice future too.

    1. No problem Natalie, nice to have you back though 😀 Oh I don’t think Colin has the same star power as the duo in the first TD season either. Now it seems Vince Vaughn has been cast too, I’m not a huge fan of his but who knows if the writing is still good it could still be a decent second season. I have never seen Moss in anything but I generally do like McAdams.

    1. Hi Shah, always thrilled to see you stop by! I’d love to watch it but it’d probably later in the year. Hope Netflix streaming would have it. It’s Vince Vaughn, ha..ha.. not sure why people keep adding an ‘a’ in is last name.

        1. Ha..ha.. that’s gotta be it 😀 I often see Vaughn in comedies, but it might be good for his career to be in this one and do more of a dramatic role.

          1. His Dramatic chops are wow. Have you seen RETURN TO PARADISE? It’s one of those movies where I don’t know what I would’ve done in place of the protagonist. An amazing movie of his.

            1. Hi again Shah! No I haven’t. I guess I’ve only seen Vaughn in comedies. I’m curious to see him display his dramatic chops, I think he’s got it.

  12. Pingback: Monthly Roundup & Favorite Movie of SEPTEMBER 2014 |

  13. I’m very excited about Kebbell’s casting, as I consider him a very underrated actor. The True Detective casting is awesome, and I’m really intrigued about Matt Smith’s casting in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.

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