Uma Thurman has signed on to star in Girl Soldier, an independent film about the fate of a group of Ugandan schoolgirls, Variety reports. Thurman will play a nun in the film, which follows the real-life story of a group of 140 students who were abducted in 1996 and forced to become soldiers and slaves. Thurman's character is the woman responsible for tracking down the armed rebels behind the kidnapping and securing the release of 110 of the girls. "This is a film that had to get made. It's beyond me that in this day and age, the exploitation of child soldiers goes virtually unnoticed and unchecked by western media," Thurman said. The film is based on Kathy Cook's book Fallen Angels. Caspian Pictures is producing and filming is scheduled to start early next year.
Robert Downey Jr has been cast in Due Date as an expectant father racing to get to the birth of his first child while on a road trip from hell. Zach Galifianakis will co-star as his ill-suited road partner in the Warner Bros film, which is being directed by Todd Phillips, who will also produce through his company, Green Hat. Galifianakis had a starring role in the Phillips-directed summer hit The Hangover, which is the highest grossing R-rated film in the US ever with a box-office tally of $240 million (Dh882m). The script for Due Date was written by Alan R Cohen and Alan Freedland. Filming will begin in September in Atlanta, New Mexico and Los Angeles.
Britain's Hanif Kureishi has signed on to write the big-screen adaptation of The White Tiger, one of a number of Indian-themed projects to have gone into development following the success of Slumdog Millionaire. Smuggler Films is producing the film in association with Ascension Entertainment. The White Tiger is based on the Man Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga's novel of the same name about a young man from a poor rural village. Kureishi is best known for writing the script for My Beautiful Laundrette. His play The Black Album is currently on at the National Theatre in London.
Mainland China's media company Chengtian (Orange Sky) has completed a takeover of the legendary Hong Kong film company Golden Harvest, creating closer ties between the two film industries, The Hollywood Reporter writes. Golden Harvest Orange Sky, as the company is now called, has, through the takeover, become mainland China's first listed film company. Golden Harvest produced more than 600 films and was responsible for turning Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan into household names. The company was founded by the fabled Shaw Brothers executives Raymond Chow and Leonard Ho in 1970. Chengtian belongs to a new breed of aggressive players in the mainland film business, the paper reports.
The actress Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) has landed a co-starring role with Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Kunis will play Portman's rival in this New York City Ballet drama to be directed by Darren Aronofsky. In the story, strange developments occur between the two rivals as they prepare for a major performance. Kunis's upcoming films include Denzel Washington's The Book of Eli and Extract with Ben Affleck. Kunis also has a voice role in Fox's animated series Family Guy and is set to shoot the comedy Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey.
The Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg will bring Don DeLillo's novel Cosmopolis to the big screen, The Hollywood Reporter writes. The film is based on the odyssey of a 28-year-old billionaire who crosses Manhattan to get a haircut. Paulo Branco's Paris-based production house Alfama Films will co-produce with Cronenberg's Antenna. The film has yet to be cast, but is aiming for a 2010 shoot in New York and Toronto. Cosmopolis, DeLillo's 13th novel, was published in 2003 by Scribner.