– Director Matthew Vaughn has cast Wanted star James McAvoy to play the role of the young Charles Xavier (created by Patrick Stewart) in Fox’s next X-Men installment, the origin story X-Men: First Class. We like The Playlist’s casting suggestion of Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) to play Xavier’s evil opposition, Magneto (originally Ian McKellen).
– Actress-director Sarah Polley’s second film, Take This Waltz, which starts filming filming in Toronto in July, is yet another movie that deals with issues of long-term fidelity: Michelle Williams plays a married woman who is intensely drawn to another man (Luke Kirby). Polley’s 2006 Away From Her, an exquisite examination of love under extreme duress, yielded an Oscar nomination for Julie Christie. (Here’s the film’s promo art.)
– As the print edition of Newsweek goes on the block, Newsweek.com’s site redesign went up this week. After listening to user feedback, Newsweek Digital editor Mark Miller decided to focus on “simplicity and clarity.” The new bloglike site is for people who “seek context and clarity in an information landscape cluttered with headlines and knee-jerk reactions,” he writes. “When you come to our site, we won’t greet you with a dizzying array of a million places to click. We’ll focus on what matters most, right now.” One new feature, The Spectrum, will give a “quick but deep dive into what’s being said around the Web about the major story of the day (or at least the story that’s the big water-cooler topic of the moment).”
– Media Rights Capital has closed a deal with Universal Pictures to release twenty MRC films over a five year period, starting in 2011. It’s basically a service deal. Universal can opt into investing in the films it wants to distribute. On those films, MRC gains a major studio distribution partner, which will help it to lure talent. MRC and Universal already teamed with MRC on Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno and the international release of Ricky Gervais’ Invention of Lying as well as the upcoming sci-fier The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt (here’s the trailer) and M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller Devil. Universal also recently acquired from MRC writer-director Seth MacFarlane’s live-action/CG comedy Ted.