UPDATE: Jessica Chastain passes “Iron Man 3” role due to scheduling conflicts. EARLIER: If “Iron Man 3” lands Jessica Chastain despite scheduling issues, the third installment of the Marvel franchise is that much closer to making up for its weak second act. The “Three of Life” star is in talks to play a sexy-smart doctor. While Chastain is slated to shoot Kathryn Bigelow’s untitled Bin Laden project and the his-and-hers “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” with Ned Benson (all three films will co-star Joel Edgerton), “Iron Man 3” is also looking to add Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley to mainstays Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle and Gwyneth Paltrow, with writer-director Shane Black at the helm (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” “Last Action Hero,” “Lethal Weapon”).
Meanwhile, “Fast & Furious 6” has set its sights on Gina Carano, the MMA-fighter turned Steven Soderbergh muse who spawned “Haywire.” Carano is in negotiations to join the “Fast” cast of Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson and regular director Justin Lin and scripter Chris Morgan (both returning for a fourth time). Last year’s “Fast Five” was a hit, scoring with audiences and critics alike (and breaking box office records).
Lin has also just acquired film rights to “Chinglish,” TIME Magazine’s Best Play of 2011 from playwright David Henry Hwang. The political romantic comedy debuted in Chicago (Goodman Theatre) and will begin its international tour this fall at Berkeley’s Repertory Theatre. Lin will direct and produce the adaptation through his Barnstorm Pictures, while Hwang will adapt the script and co-produce alongside Bobbi Thompson. Lin says, “As soon as I saw [it] on Broadway, I began to envision this smart and insightful cross-cultural comedy as a film. I’m excited about working with David to bring this very timely story to the screen.”