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Casting Notes: Rise of the Apes rumors, Battleship and more X-Men

Today's casting notes include a couple actors who have been offered roles in the prequel to Planet of the Apes, some more speculation about the Marvel origins film X-Men: First Class and one of the most popular vampires in modern entertainment is getting another leading role in Battleship, and no, it's Twilight star Robert Pattinson.

On the ape front, it has already been known that James Franco would be leading Twentieth Century Fox’s upcoming film Planet of the Apes: Rise of the Apes, a prequel to the sci-fi classic. According to Bloody Disgusting, Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda) and Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) have been offered roles in the film as well. However, it is unknown what roles the Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actors will be playing. It is also undetermined if this is even true; Bloody Disgusting warns readers that this should be considered a rumor at the moment.

Cheadle proved that he could act in genre films by successfully filling a supporting role in Iron Man 2. Meanwhile, we haven’t really seen much of Pinto outside of Slumdog Millionaire. Two films will feature her later this year, Julian Schnabel’s Miral and Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger, but they won’t exactly indicate if "Apes" is the right fit. Then again, all is speculation at the moment, but expect confirmation soon as Rise of the Apes is just a year and a week away from its anticipated release date of June 24, 2011.

On the X-Men: First Class side of things, it turns out that Michael Fassbender, who was said to have not
been interested in the Matthew Vaughn-helmed comic book film, has actually been confirmed to play Erik Lensherr aka Magneto, according to Entertainment Weekly. He appeared in last year’s Academy Award-winning film Inglourious Basterds and received acclaim for his role in the small indie flick Fish Tank.

Meanwhile, it appears that newcomer Benjamin Walker, currently finishing up a broadway role as a rock 'n roll version of Andrew Jackson in New York, will be joining the "First Class" as Dr. Hank McCoy aka Beast, the role originated by Kelsey Grammer in X-Men the Last Stand, this according to Showbiz411.com. Walker kind of looks like a young Eric Bana, just imagine him being blue, not green.

The last bit of "vampire-related" news refers to Alexander Skarsgard of True Blood fame. According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision Blog, the star will have a leading role in Battleship. Yes, the film that will be based on the Hasbro game of the same name. The film’s script centers on “a water-bound armada of otherworldly origin” battling an international naval fleet. Skarsgard will play the narrow officer who is idolized by his brother, who is to be played by star Taylor Kitsch (X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Hancock director Peter Berg has signed on to helm the film, which is a long while from hitting theaters on the expected date of May 18, 2012.

The entire concept of Battleship is a bit disturbing. For the past several years, it has become painstakingly obvious that major Hollywood studios have been running out of ideas. As a result, moviegoers have been treated to remakes, revamps, and sequels galore. The idea of a film based on a Hasbro game isn’t exactly appealing. 

Skarsgard has proven himself to be a capable actor. However, perhaps this film isn’t the best way for him to break through into the world of motion pictures.

Battleship will be the first studio film for Skarsgard since his breakout role on HBO’s True Blood. He almost got the leading role in Marvel’s upcoming Thor, even receiving a screen test for the role. Skarsgard will work on Lars von Trier’s Melancholia before stepping into Battleship.




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