Leonardo DiCaprio is attached to star in an untitled film set in the world of online poker for Paramount, The Hollywood Reporter writes. Due to shoot in Costa Rica, the story is based on a pitch from the writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien, whose previous film, Rounders, starred Edward Norton and Matt Damon as two high-stakes players in the underground poker scene. DiCaprio, who most recently starred in Revolutionary Road, can next be seen in October in Paramount's Martin Scorsese thriller, Shutter Island.
Iranian director freed The Kurdish-Iranian film director Bahman Ghobadi has been released from an Iranian prison with a warning following his arrest over what the Iranian Government called "severe criticism" of Iran at the Cannes Film Festival last month where his film, No One Knows About Persian Cats, opened the Un Certain Regard section. The film was made in 17 days and focused on Tehran's underground rock and heavy metal community, which borrowed western melodies to write political songs. Ghobadi had to use an SK12 camera to make the film as all 35mm equipment is owned by the state.
Cruise control Tom Cruise has announced that he is teaming up with JJ Abrams again to produce Mission Impossible 4, The Hollywood Reporter writes. Paramount is eyeing a 2011 release date for the action film. Abrams previously directed Cruise in Mission Impossible 3, which grossed $395 million worldwide in the summer of 2006. Footloose remake planned The Dancing With The Stars winner Julianne Hough has been cast in a remake of the cult dance film Footloose according to The Hollywood Reporter. The dancer, singer and choreographer will co-star with Chase Crawford (Gossip Girl) in Paramount's remake of the 1984 film, which is set for a March shoot. The original film featured Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer in the story of a rebellious outsider who moves to a new town where music and dancing are banned by a local minister. Kenny Ortega (High School Musical) is producing and directing from a screenplay by Susannah Grant. Craig Zadan, who was a producer on the original film, his current business partner Neil Meron and Dylan Sellers are also producing.
Back on the Pharm Reese Witherspoon has signed on to star in Pharm Girl, a comedy based on a woman's odyssey through the drug industry. The Bad Santa screenwriters Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are writing the screenplay and are also in talks to direct the film for Universal, says The Hollywood Reporter. Witherspoon is producing the new film via her Type A production company. The story revolves around a woman hired by a pharmaceutical giant who gets an eye into the underbelly of the industry.
Tackling prejudice The Indian filmmaker Mohit Suri is planning to make a film on a recent spate of attacks on Indian students in Australia, Reuters reports. Suri told the agency that he was inspired to write the script after an Indian friend based in Australia complained of discrimination. The film will be shot in Australia at the end of the year and follows an Indian student who thinks that he is a victim of racial bias. Around 93,000 of the 430,000 foreign students in Australia are Indians, a figure that has risen from around 30,000 only a few years ago, according to the report.
Cher's screen comeback The singer Cher is to appear in her first film role for a decade, Variety reports. She is to star alongside Christina Aguilera in Burlesque, a musical being produced by the Sony subsidiary Screen Gems. It tells the story of a small-town girl (played by Aguilera) who sings in a club on Los Angeles's Sunset Boulevard and is mentored by the club owner Tess (Cher). Cher's last big screen appearance was in Tea With Mussolini, Franco Zeffirelli's Second World War drama, with Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. She won a Best Actress Oscar in 1988 for her performance in Moonstruck.
Portman en pointe Natalie Portman has signed on to Darren Aronofsky's supernatural thriller Black Swan, set in the world of the New York City ballet, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Aronofsky is hoping the coup will help him find a new home for the project, which was originally set up in early 2007 at Universal, but then shelved. Portman will play a veteran ballerina involved in an ugly competitive situation with a rival dancer.