The American Film Market is in full swing, so that means casting announcements are flying fast and furious.
First up, Matthew McConaughey and writer-director Gary Ross (“The Hunger Games,” “Pleasantville“) are poised to team-up. The actor and filmmaker are cooking up a project called “Free State Of Jones,” based on the untold and extraordinary story of Newton Knight, the leader of one of the greatest rebellions in Civil War history. New mini-major studio STX may finance the movie to the tune of $20 million. This is the old Civil War passion project that Ross has been trying to get off the ground for years since 2009 (we’d heard Matt Damon’s name back in the day), and now that the McConnaissance is in full swing he’s finally found his backing. McConaughey is in talks to play a Mississippian soldier who defects from the Confederate Army and joins other dissidents to form their own State known as the Free State Of Jones. [Deadline]
Naomi Watts is signing on to star in the drama/psychological thriller “Shut In.” Based on a 2012 Black List script by Christina Hodson, Farren Blackburn (“Doctor Who,” “The Fades”) will direct. EuropaCorp is producing and it will shoot in Europe next year. [THR]
Laurence Fishburne and Thomas Jane are about to get into a “Standoff,” which “The Last House On The Left” writer Adam Alleca will direct based on his own screenplay. The movie centers on a grieving combat veteran (Jane) who offers shelter at his farmhouse to an orphan on the run from sadistic assassin (Fishburne). The orphan character evidently hasn’t been cast yet. [ScreenDaily]