1.) Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the latest name to join Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. His character, a cocky gambler named Johnny, is considered one of the film's leads and was originally offered to Johnny Depp. "I love how the first move uses VFX, not to make fake things look real, but to create a heightened world unburdened by the look and feel of reality," Gordon-Levitt said of the project. "Plus, nobody makes a badass like Mr. Rodriguez."
Deadline also expects a few "tough guy actors" to be added shortly, with Josh Brolin considered one good possibility. As for Gordon-Levitt, the deal takes him out of the running for a few other roles he has been mulling over. One of those was the lead in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, which now has Jim Sturgess, Zachary Levi and John Krasinski among those left in contention.
2.) Speaking of Gordon-Levitt, he passed on the lead in Legendary Pictures' Godzilla when it was offered to him last fall, according to THR's Borys Kit. Variety reports Henry Cavill (Man of Steel), Scoot McNairy (Argo, Killing Them Softly) and Caleb Landry Jones (Contraband, X-Men: First Class) are now in the running for that role.
The casting of McNairy would reunite him with director Gareth Edwards, whose Monsters basically put both of them on the map. Shooting begins in March, so they'll have to pick someone before too long. In addition, Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) has been brought in to do a final polish of the script. [AICN]
3.) Now that Joel Edgerton has established himself as a leading man, it looks like Ben Mendelsohn could be the next Australian actor to take Hollywood by storm. He just picked up a lead role opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in the gambling picture Mississippi Grind, from the Half Nelson and It's Kind of a Funny Story filmmaking team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Mendelsohn plays a down-and-out gambler who sets out on a road trip with a younger gambling addict (Gyllenhaal) with the hopes of turning his luck around. Mendelsohn already had a big 2012, which included roles in The Dark Knight Rises and Killing Them Softly, and he'll follow that up with upcoming roles in The Place Beyond the Pines and Ryan Gosling's directorial debut How to Catch a Monster. [Variety]
3.) Brad Pitt is circling the title role in Warner Bros' Pontius Pilate, a film that would tell the life story of the man who authorized Jesus Christ's crucifixion. The script by Vera Blasi is being compared to Gladiator and Braveheart in the way it combines history, political maneuvering and storytelling inventions as it tracks Pilate's life from sensitive son of a Roman Knight to ferocious soldier on the political track. I can't quite put my finger on the spark that made the biblical epic hot again, but Pilate is just one of several projects in the works. We all know about Darren Aronofsky's Noah, but Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg are also developing rival Moses projects and Will Smith has discussed making his directorial debut on The Redemption of Cain. [Deadline]
4.) The cast has rounded out for McG's still-untitled action picture. Relativity has announced they've closed deals with Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld and Connie Nielsen to surround the previously announced Kevin Costner. They describe the project as a "darkly comedic action film" that follows a secret service agent who's agreed to return from retirement for one last mission in exchange for an experimental drug that could save his life. Unfortunately, there are some hallucinatory side effects he must overcome while attempting to complete the mission. The script is from Luc Besson (Taken) and Adi Hasak (From Paris With Love).
And I don't mean to end things on a sad note today, but I wanted to pass along the news that David R. Ellis, best known as the director of Snakes on a Plane, passed away yesterday at the age of 60. He began his career as an actor, stuntman and stunt coordinator before moving into directing. The other projects he helmed include Final Destination 2, Cellular, The Final Destination and Shark Night 3D. At the time of his death, Ellis was preparing to reunite with Samuel L. Jackson on a project called KITE, a live-action adaptation of a 1998 Japanese anime. [Deadline]