Fresh from his fantasy turns in The Avengers and Hansel & Gretel, Jeremy Renner is heading back to contemporary thrillers for Kill the Messenger. It’s based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb who committed suicide in 2004 after being smeared by the CIA. It will be directed by Michael Cuesta, who produced and directed numerous episodes of Homeland and helmed the pilots of Dexter and Elementary. Webb was a San Jose Mercury News reporter who, in 1996, published a series of articles linking the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California. Despite being proved mostly right in the end, he was rubbished by his colleagues and the CIA, lost his job and suffered depression, finally taking his own life.
- With an Oscar nomination under his belt for Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to reteam with the director. He’s lining up to play the lead in Inherent Vice, an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon detective novel. Published in 2009, Vice is the story of Larry “Doc” Sportello, a pot-smoking detective who is hired to investigate a kidnap plot that plays out in a turbulent late-60s Los Angeles inhabited by the Manson family and counter-subversive agents at the LAPD. Robert Downey jnr was originally going to play Doc but dropped out and Charlize Theron is also rumoured to be joining the cast. Anderson is a big fan of Phoenix’s, telling the Guardian last year he tried to recruit him for several other films. “I asked him to be in Boogie Nights, I asked him to be in There Will Be Blood, I’ve wanted to work with him for the longest time. There’s so much energy around him, he’s like dynamite. He’s thrilling, sometimes a bit maddening.” Phoenix will next be seen in historical drama Lowlife, about immigrants in 1900s New York, alongside Marion Cotillard and Renner.
- Theron, Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie have all had a go at playing fairy-tale evil stepmothers of late. Now it’s the turn of Cate Blanchett. She’s going to play the wicked one in a live-action Disney version of Cinderella. It recently lost director Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) but now Kenneth Branagh has been asked to step into the breach, with shooting expected to start in London later in the year. Saoirse Ronan has been rumoured for the lead, though that is not confirmed. The plan is to get the movie out in 2014 – 100 years after Mary Pickford played the role in Hollywood’s first adaptation of the tale.