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Paul Dano Joining Rian Johnson’s Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Looper’

Paul Dano Joining Rian Johnson's Sci-Fi Thriller 'Looper'

There are few projects we’re as excited for in 2011 as “Looper” the third film from writer-director Rian Johnson. The helmer’s debut, 2006’s “Brick,” was one of the most stunning and fiercely original debuts in recent years, and follow-up “The Brothers Bloom,” while more divisive, has plenty of fans (including this writer, who finds it eminently rewatchable).

The new project, a dark, violent sci-fi thriller revolving around time travel, goes before cameras in the new year, with a hugely promising cast led by “Brick” veteran Joseph Gordon-Levitt, with Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt also on board. And now news has broken that another terrific actor has joined the film.

Paul Dano, star of “There Will Be Blood” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” is in late-stage talks to join the project, an excellent addition if ever there was one. We were told the news overnight by a source close to the production and, while Variety managed to beat us to the punch, what they won’t tell you is who the actor’ll be playing.

We’re told that Dano will play Seth, who, like Gordon-Levitt’s character Joe, is one of the titular Loopers, low-level hitmen who are paid to murder people sent back from the future by organized crime bosses. We don’t want to give too much away, as the twists and turns are a huge part of the appeal of the script (possibly the best this writer’s read this year), but Dano’s role is fairly brief, featuring mostly in the first act. Nevertheless, it’s a key one, and Dano’s a perfect pick.

There’s no word on a release date yet — the film’s being produced independently by Ram Bergman and Endgame Entertainment — but shooting starts early next year in Louisiana, and you can follow the production process on Johnson’s Tumblr for the movie in the meantime.

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