Today in film and television: It took some convincing to get Don Johnson to join Quentin Tarantino's new movie, Alexander Payne's new movie has its budget cut, and Michael Fassbender and Alexander McQueen are teaming up once again.
- Don Johnson is the latest addition to the cast of Quentin Tarantino's Reconstruction Era spaghetti western Django Unchained. With Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz already playing the good guy bounty hunters trying to track down Foxx's wife, and Leonardo DiCaprio and Kurt Russell set to be the villains, the former Miami Vice star is probably at best the film's fifth lead. According to Variety, Johnson was inexplicably reluctant to accept the role, only signing up after "a courtship [with Tarantino] that lasted several months." [Variety]
- Alexander Payne is an early frontrunner to win Best Director this year for The Descendants, but Paramount was nervous enough about plans to film his next project Nebraska in black-and-white that they made him cut his budget from $20 million to $10 million and cast a name actor to play the lead role of an alcoholic father travelling with his estranged son to claim a prize at the Publisher's Clearing House headquarters. Payne won't begin work on the film until next month, but Vulture hears "Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Robert Forster...[and] Jack Nicholson" are on Paramount's short list for the role. [Vulture]
- German actor Michael Fassbender (above left) is among the top choices to star in the reboot of Robocop and Steven Soderbergh's big screen adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., but first, he's going to reteam with director Andrew McQueen (above right) for a third time in Twelve Times a Slave. Fassbender played Irish militant Bobby Sands for McQueen in 2008's Hunger, and has been generating festival Oscar buzz this year for his performance in the director's Shame. Chiwetel Ejiofor has already been cast in the new film as Solomon Northup, a New York citizen who was kidnapped and spent twelve years on a cotton plantation before being rescued in 1853. It's unclear what Fassbender's role will be. [Variety]
- Warner Bros. has put the comedy Imagine into turnaround after Steve Carrell, who was attached to produce and star as the long-lost love child of an aging rock star, decided that he just wanted to produce. Another studio can acquire the rights to the project and we hope one of them will, since Al Pacino is reportedly interested in playing the Bruce Springsteen-esque dad. [Vulture]
- The 23rd James Bond film, which is probably going to be called Sky Fall, is hustling to fill out its cast before filming begins next month. In an interview with Nightline, No Country for Old Men friendo Javier Bardem told Christine Amanpour he'd be playing a villain in the film and The Daily Mail reported last week that French television actress Berenice Marlohe had been cast as the new "Bond girl" after filming a screen test for director Sam Mendes. Judi Dench is also returning as 'M' while Ralph Fiennes is also on-board to play an unspecified role "of extreme complexity," according to Daily Mail gossip columnist Baz Bamigboye. The film is scheduled to be released in the United Kingdom next year on October 26, with the U.S. release coming two weeks later. [ABC News and The Daily Mail]