Movie File: Brad Pitt, Mark Wahlberg, Scarlett Johansson, Will Smith & More

'Fight Club' actor to play Jesse James in new film he's also producing.

Brad Pitt has signed on to play Jesse James in a still-untitled Western based on the Ron Hansen novel “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” according to Variety. Andrew Dominik (“Chopper”) will direct and Pitt will produce with his Plan B Films
company, which includes his on-the-outs wife Jennifer Aniston. … Mark Wahlberg has joined Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon in the cast of “The Departed,” Martin Scorsese‘s follow-up to “The Aviator.” Wahlberg will play a policeman in the tale of a gangster (Damon) infiltrating the police department while a cop (DiCaprio) is simultaneously infiltrating a gang. “The Departed” is an English remake of the Hong Kong smash “Infernal Affairs.” …

Renée Zellweger, Orlando Bloom, Salma Hayek and Tim Robbins will join Charlize Theron as presenters at the 77th Academy Awards on February 27 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Scarlett Johansson will present the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards on February 12 at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. … Theron will also present at the 11th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which TNT will broadcast live February 5 from the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center. Ellen DeGeneres, Annette Bening and Morgan Freeman will also present SAG trophies, the only industry honors voted on entirely by actors. …

Will Smith has agreed to star in the true-life story “Pursuit of Happyness,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. The movie is based on the life of Chris Gardner, a homeless man who lived with his baby in a bathroom at a San Francisco train station while he began working as a broker trainee and eventually become a partner. … Drew Barrymore will star opposite Eric Bana in “Lucky You,” a drama about a professional poker player’s relationships with his estranged father and a struggling singer. “8 Mile” director Curtis Hanson, whose “In Her Shoes” with Cameron Diaz opens in October, will helm from a script he co-wrote with Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump”). …

Having determined that it would be difficult to prove their case, state prosecutors in Tennessee decided Wednesday they would not pursue rape charges against actor Anthony Anderson (“Barbershop”) and assistant film director Wayne Witherspoon, according to The Associated Press. Anderson and Witherspoon were accused of sexually assaulting one of the extras on the set of the Sundance Film Festival hit “Hustle & Flow,” but those charges were dismissed by a judge last fall. The prosecution announced that it would not seek a grand jury criminal indictment. …

Paul Walker is in talks to star in “Antarctica,” a drama based on the true story of two explorers heading to Antarctica in search of a meteorite. Walker would play a National Geographic reporter who retraces his steps with a rescue team in the movie, which Frank Marshall (“Alive”) is directing. … Queen Latifah, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Emma Thompson are joining Will Ferrell in “Stranger Than Fiction,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. The romantic comedy, director Marc Forster‘s follow-up to “Finding Neverland,” is about an obsessive/compulsive auditor (Ferrell) who begins to hear a voice that turns out to be an author who is writing a novel featuring Ferrell’s character as the unfortunate protagonist. Gyllenhaal will play his unlikely love interest, while Thompson will play the author and Latifah the publisher’s employee whose job is to cure writers’ block. …

Denzel Washington has signed on to play Brutus in William Shakespeare‘s “Julius Caesar” at the Belasco Theater on Broadway beginning March 8. William Sadler is playing the title role, while Colm Feore (“The Chronicles of Riddick”) has been cast as Cassius and Jessica Hecht (“Sideways”) as Brutus’ wife, Portia. … Michael Douglas is set to shoot another sequel to the films that launched him to superstar status in the 1980s. The 61-year-old actor will produce and star in “Racing the Monsoon,” a follow-up to “Romancing the Stone” and “Jewel of the Nile,” Reuters reports. Production is due to start at the end of this year in India, and the film will feature a mostly Indian cast. …

Natassia Malthe, currently in theaters as Typhoid in “Elektra,” has several movies in the works and will return to the big screen later this year in the cop thriller “Chaos” with Wesley Snipes, Ryan Phillippe and Jason Statham. “I play something completely opposite,” the Norwegian actress said recently. “I’m a drug addict, hoochie mama. And I have some intense scenes in the movie.” … Meanwhile, Malthe’s “Elektra” co-star Bob Sapp is playing a character more similar to his Stone in his next movie, the remake of “The Longest Yard” with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. “I play another big guy, not too bright, but he’s kind of a teddy bear, a lovable type that kind of helps Adam Sandler,” Sapp said. “You’re gonna see part of the original, we’re gonna have some drama in there, but more comedy and more development of the characters.” …

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