Casting Net: Nicholas Hoult and Jack O’Connell eyeing Brian Epstein-John Lennon drama

  • Mad Max: Fury Road war boy Nicholas Hoult and Unbroken star Jack O’Connell are circling roles as Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ original manager, and John Lennon in A Life in the Day. Justin Chadwick (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) is in talks to direct from a script by Tony Gittelson, with David Permut and Dylan Sellers producing. Epstein, who was gay, and Lennon had what the latter once described to Playboy as “almost a love affair, but not quite. It was never consummated. But we did have a pretty intense relationship.” [Deadline]
  • Bradley Cooper is in negotiations to provide the voice — specifically, the inner voice — of the title character in A Dog’s Purpose, DreamWorks’ adaptation of the book by W. Bruce Cameron. Lasse Hallstrom is directing the movie, which centers on a devoted hound who is reincarnated several times and helps his many owners, even as he tries to reunite with his original master. Shooting is underway in Winnipeg, with a cast including Britt Robertson and Dennis Quaid. [The Hollywood Reporter]
  • Rachel Weisz is favored to replace Kate Winslet in The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos’ historical drama about Britain’s Queen Anne. Weisz is in talks to portray the queen’s confidant Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. She’d join Olivia Colman as Anne and Emma Stone as Abigail Masham, the duchess’ upstart cousin. Lanthimos, who recently directed Weisz and Colman in The Lobster, will work from a script by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara. Filming is scheduled to start in the spring. [Deadline]
  • Austin Stowell, the downed U2 pilot in Bridge of Spies, will play Anne Hathaway’s love interest in the monster movie Colossal. Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes) is directing the tale of an ordinary woman (Hathway) who realizes she has a bizarre mental connection to circumstances in Tokyo where a giant lizard is attacking the city. Shooting starts next week. [Deadline]
  • Ewan McGregor’s directing debut, an adaptation of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral, has added Rupert Evans to its cast. He joins Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning, Uzo Aduba, David Strathairn, and McGregor himself in the story of a former high-school athletics star (McGregor) whose seemingly perfect life is shattered against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. The film is shooting in Pittsburgh now. [Variety]
  • Rebecca Ferguson, the breakout star of Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, is in talks to join Michael Fassbender in The Snowman, an adaptation of author Jo Nesbo’s Nordic noir thriller. Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) is directing, Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z) wrote the script, and Martin Scorsese is on board as an executive producer. [Deadline]