So much eyebrow-raising Hollywood casting news and project announcements, so little time. Let's get to it!
Bradley Cooper has signed on for Dark Invasion, a "true spy thriller" based on an upcoming Howard Blum nonfiction book of the same name. The year is 1915, the heart of WWI, and Cooper is NYPD captain Tom Tunney, the man putting together a team to fight German spy tactics sabotaging America's support of the Allied war effort. As Deadline reports, "The Kaiser's spies bomb factories, sabotage ships, shoot JP Morgan Jr (a financier of the Allies), bomb the U.S. Capitol Building, and set up an anthrax lab six miles from the White House." Sounds exciting and action-packed, and also this probably means Bradley Cooper will have a mustache! My only concern? That a nation of teenagers who skipped American History to rip butts and chug Georgi on the benches behind the soccer field will see evil Germans and be utterly confounded as to where their swastikas went.
MGM is moving forward with a Ben-Hur reboot that, they promise, will differ from the classic 1959 version. The script comes from Keith Clarke (The Way Back), and will tell the backstory of the feud between Judah Ben-Hur and Messala. As Deadline explains, the two are best friends growing up before the Roman Empire moves into Jerusalem, but things get twisted when Messala returns after five years in Rome: "Messala mocks Judah and his [Judaism] and when a procession passes by Judah's house and a roof tile accidentally falls and hits the governor, Messala betrays his childhood friend and manipulates it so that Judah is sold into slavery and certain death on a Roman warship, with his mother and sister thrown in prison for life." Blah blah blah, revenge quest, chariots, etc. Also notable is that Jesus will be in this one ("it will tell the parallel tale of Jesus Christ, with whom Ben-Hur has several encounters which moves him to become a believer in the Messiah") proving, once again, that Jesus Christ and Will Smith are the last movie stars with any actual box office pull.
According to The Wrap, Anne Hathaway will star in a modern-day retelling of The Taming of the Shrew set in mid-20th-century Italy. As any true fan of Larisa Oleynik knows, the Billy Shakespeare comedy had another modern-day retelling with 1999's 10 Things I Hate About You. And how in the hell does Anne Hathaway expect to make a better movie than 10 Things I Hate About You?
OK, this is the best one: Warner Bros. is doing The Odyssey but in space! James DiLapo, a recent NYU grad who wunderkinded his way onto The Black List with his Soviet Union thriller Devils at Play, has been hired to write it; also, it was Paris Hilton's ex-boyfriend Paris Latsis's idea. What could possibly go wrong?! My favorite thing about this is how Deadline's report treats Homer — he of generation-spanning, literature-inventing epic poetry — as just another dude trying to hack it in Hollywood: "The Odyssey is Homer's followup to The Illiad [sic], which the studio turned into Troy " Yo, Homer, hopefully this Odyssey in space nonsense does big numbers like O Brother, Where Art Thou? because another miss after Troy and you're dead in this town, pal.