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Casting Roundup: Franco, Williams and Affleck Get the Gigs

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All of the week's hot casting news in one fell swoop ...

• James Franco continues to provide evidence that he lives in a world where there are more than 24 hours in a day. According to Deadline, the crazy busy thespian has added "The Grace That Keeps This World" to his insane schedule, a family drama co-starring Brit Marling and Glenn Close that follows a father and his sons as they prepare for the upcoming hunting season.

• Michelle Williams, whom we haven't seen on the big screen since "My Week With Marilyn," is in talks to star in "Suite Francaise" for English director Saul Dibb ("The Duchess"). Williams would be playing, according to Variety, "a spirited young woman in occupied France who falls for a German officer and must choose between love and her country." She'll probably find a way to choose both.

• The con is on with Ben Affleck! Deadline reports that the "Argo" man is in talks to star in "Focus," the tale of a grifter who falls in love with a female up-and-comer — a recipe for heartbreak when one's in the business of cheating and lying.

• It's Jake LaMotta vs. Rocky Balboa! Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone are set to star in "Grudge Match," the story of two former boxers who come out of retirement for a few more rounds in the ring. Kevin Hart has also been cast as the fight promoter, according to Deadline.

• Jennifer Connelly just can't get enough of Russell Crowe. The "Labyrinth" beauty will be joining her "A Beautiful Mind" and "Noah" co-star for a third time in "Winter's Tale," the story of a dying young woman (Jessica Brown Findlay) who falls in love with the thief (Colin Farrell) who breaks into her palatial home.

• It's the return of Wilhelm Grimm! Vulture reports that Matt Damon will be reuniting with his "The Brothers Grimm" director Terry Gilliam for a small part in "The Zero Theorem."

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• And the sex party just keeps on getting bigger. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Uma Thurman is now getting in bed with Lars von Trier's "The Nymphomaniac." Soft- and hardcore versions of the film are currently being shot in Germany with a cast that includes Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Shia LaBeouf, Jamie Bell, Stacy Martin, Connie Nielsen and Christian Slater.

Lord Voldermort in a Wes Anderson movie? Yes, please. Deadline reports that Ralph Fiennes is in talks to join the cast of "The Grand Budapest Hotel." Mum's the word on his role and, of course, on any details of the film's plot ... for now.

• It doesn't seem fair that Ryan Reynolds gets to be both a movie star and the real-life husband of Scarlett Johansson and now Blake Lively, but hey, some guys have all the luck. The luckiest man alive is now in talks to star in "The Voices," the story of a lovable yet strange bathtub factory worker whose friends include an evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog.

• Well, here are two guys who should probably never star in period pieces ... and definitely not ones that take place in China, at that. The Wrap reports that Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen (Ghost Rider and Darth Vader) are teaming up for "Outcast," the story of a warrior in 10th century China who attempts to redeem himself by saving a princess.

• "If you spend five minutes with Katee it becomes blatantly obvious that she would pwn (sic) most male action stars." Producer Adi Shankar sounds as excited as we are that "Battlestar Galactica" alum Katee Sackhoff is joining Gina Carano in the all-female riff on "The Expendables."

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• Liam Neeson will soon be punching bad guys at 35,000 feet — and Nate Parker is going to help him. Variety reports that the "Arbitrage" star has joined the cast of "Non-Stop," an action thriller about a worn-out air marshal who must protect the passengers on board an international flight when they're faced with a grave threat. Neeson's "Chloe" co-star, Julianne Moore, is also on board, accoding to Heat Vision.

• Don't worry, "Looper" fans — Paul Dano still has his nose and all of his fingers. The "Being Flynn" star has signed on to join the cast of "Prisoners," the crime thriller starring Hugh Jackman as a small town carpenter who takes the law into his own hands after his young daughter and best friend are kidnapped, a crusade that doesn't sit too well with the detective on the case (Jake Gyllenhaal).

• Well, here's one of the more original (and subversive) premises for a film that we've heard in a while. Variety reports that Cam Giganet and Nick Thune will headline "Johnson," a comedy that centers on a womanizer who receives his comeuppance after his penis mysteriously leaves his body and takes human form, forcing him to become a better man and, well, less of a dick.

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