Role Call: Jabberwockys and tigers, oh my!

This week, we take another look at Cinderella, learn some exciting casting news for The Jungle Book, take some silly walks, and find out which television series has been granted a second season! All this and more in this week’s edition of Casting News!

Other than knowing that Steve Kloves and his daughter Callie are involved in the live-action version of The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, we’ve heard very little information. However, much to the delight of some MuggleNet staff, we now know that at least one cast member has been announced! According to The Hollywood Reporter, Emmy-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch will join the Warner Bros. project as the voice of Mowgli’s enemy, a tiger named Shere Khan.

Speaking of Cumberbatch, the actor is rumored to also be working with another former Harry Potter cast member – Gary Oldman is said to be a part of the stage production of Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre according to IBTimes. Tickets for the production sold out quickly as nearly 31,000 fans attempted to purchase tickets online last week. No confirmation of Oldman’s involvement has yet surfaced.

New information was also released about Oldman’s role in the upcoming Kevin Costner thriller, Criminal. While we do not know his character’s name, Oldman will be playing a top-ranking CIA official who invents a strategy to “thwart a diabolical plot by implanting the memories and skills of a dead CIA operative into the mind and body of a dangerous and unpredictable prison inmate”.

Perhaps one of the most well-known Monty Python comedic bits is the Ministry of Silly Walks…and now you can step into the Ministry official’s shoes! John Cleese helped develop an app based on the sketch from the series which is now available for download for Android, iPhone, and iPad users. You can preview the game below, which Cleese has often promoted on his Twitter:

The film Pixels, directed by Chris Columbus, has pushed back its opening date from May 15 to July 24, 2015. No reason was given for the shift in release dates, however a more detailed description of the synopsis was posted:

Intergalactic aliens misinterpret video-feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war against them and attack the Earth, using the games as models for their various assaults. President Will Cooper (James) has to call on his childhood best friend, ’80s video game champion Sam Brenner (Sandler), now a home theater installer, to lead a team of old-school arcaders (Dinklage and Gad) to defeat the aliens and save the planet. Monaghan plays the team’s unique weapons specialist.

Actor John Hurt attended the Voewood Festival in Norfolk and when asked to recite Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, the actor happily obliged. A fan recorded the impromptu performance, which you can view below – our thanks to Nick Byfield Ward for the video:

Men, Women, and Children, starring Emma Thompson, will begin making the rounds before it’s wider release in October. The film is slated to premiere in Toronto in September and you can read the synopsis and view the trailer below:

MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. The film attempts to stare down social issues such as video game culture, anorexia, infidelity, fame hunting, and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose – some tragic, some hopeful – as it becomes clear that no one is immune to this enormous social change that has come through our phones, our tablets, and our computers.

Thompson’s other project, Effie Gray, will also see a release date this year. According to IMDb, the film is slated to release in the UK in October 2014 and the US in November 2014 after several delays, which we reported on earlier this year. Thompson wrote the screen play and the film stars several HP alumni including Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, and of course, Thompson. It remains to be seen if the dates will hold true, considering all the trouble the film has had reaching audiences thus far.

Timothy Spall and David Bradley have cause for celebration this week – Series two of Spall’s Blandings has made it’s way to DVD in the US and will be available on August 26th for purchase here. Of his character on the show, Spall describes Clarence as a bit of an idiot:

My character is beguilingly innocent, like a knowing idiot. Nowadays he’d be diagnosed with some kind of condition, but he uses that as a tool for avoiding things he doesn’t want to do. He’s Lord Emsworth, but all he really cares about are his roses and his pig. However, a menagerie of forces keeps stopping him getting to his roses and talking to his pig. Clarence manifests utter eccentric daftness and hilarious amnesia. He loves to forget that tonight is the Shropshire Show and he has to give a speech at it. He has 28 nieces and he doesn’t know any of their names! But he is actually a very kind man. It’s not just noblesse oblige. Underneath the aristocratic facade beats a heart of great kindness.

Bradley’s The Strain has been picked up for a second season according to The Hollywood Reporter and will return to television network FX next summer with 13 new episodes. Now it remains to be seen if Bradley’s character will be alive to see a second season return!

Finally, we close this edition of Role Call with more information on Kenneth Branagh‘s Cinderella. We previously reported on the release date for the anticipated film starring Helena Bonham Carter as Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, but we have now learned the name of Cinderella’s beau, played by Richard Madden of Game of Thrones. The point of view of the film will be that of the prince, whose name is Kit. Branagh also praised Lily James in her role as Cinderella, saying:

With Lily James we have found our perfect Cinderella. She combines knockout beauty with intelligence, wit, fun and physical grace.

That’s it for this week’s Casting News! Check back next week to see what other new roles and appearances the HP stars will have taken on and let us know what you are most excited about for the upcoming projects you’ve read about this week!

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