Since her breakout role in 2005’s “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” Michelle Monaghan has been steadily turning in solid supporting performances in everything from big-budget thrillers (“Mission Impossible III”) to more character-based dramas (“North Country”), but Hollywood still hasn’t seen her as a leading lady. That’s all set to change though, as Monaghan has signed on to appear in her biggest role yet alongside Susan Sarandon.
Jonathan Mostow (“Terminator 3,” “U-571”) will direct Monaghan and Sarandon in the thriller “Still of Night,” from a script which he also penned. The film follows Monaghan as a young career woman who is forced to care for her missing sister’s daughter, and in the process of looking for her whereabouts, must outwit a criminal (Sarandon) in order to save her and her family’s lives. Sarandon playing a more devious character could be compelling, but otherwise this material seems to let down the talents of Monaghan, whose performance in the indie “Trucker” proved her more versatile than this standard genre fare. Filming begins in August. [Deadline]
With Keira Knightley dropping out of the film, Lasse Hallstrom’s adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel “Safe Haven” has found a new lead in Julianne Hough (“Footloose”), next seen keeping with the musical theme by appearing in both “Rock of Ages” and Diablo Cody’s “Lamb of God.” Hough will play Katie, a drifter with a dark past who falls for handsome widower Alex (Josh Duhamel) in his small North Carolina town. The film already has a release date of Feb. 8th, 2013, so with the two leads now ready to go, filming should begin ASAP. [Variety]
Finally, while press has largely focused on actress Naomi Watts for her upcoming portrayal of Princess Diana in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s biopic “Diana,” quieter casting news has arrived with “Lost” star Naveen Andrews taking a part in the film. Andrews will portray Dr. Hasnat Khan, who briefly had an affair with Diana before her fatal car crash in 1997. The film, written by Stephen Jeffreys, will follow the last two years of her life, and is scheduled to lense later this year. [Guardian]