Odds and ends from Thursday:

  • Seems everyone wants in on Sean Penn's first feature-film directorial effort since 2001's The Pledge. Oscar winners William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden have signed on to play husband and wife in Into the Wild. The pair will join Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Keener in the film, which is based on Jon Krakaurer's non-fiction book about a guy (Hirsch) who hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wild, only to wind up passing away four months later.
  • In an interesting sort of shuffle, Ving Rhames will replace DMX as the lead in Marble City, a film which will mark stunt man Jim Vickers' directorial debut. Rhames will play an recently paroled ex-con hell-bent on settling scores and kicking ass. With DMX off the project, it opened him up to join Lou Diamond Phillips (Ya know, the guy from La Bamba?) in Death Toll. Story will revolve around gang warfare in New Orleans.
  • Speaking for the first time about his role in Mike Binder's upcoming 9/11 drama Empty City, Adam Sandler admitted it's a pretty "heavy-duty movie." In a role that's completely opposite his usual comedic shtick, Sandler will play a man who lost his family in the 9/11 attacks. After going five years without talking to anyone, he runs into his old college roommate (Don Cheadle) who helps re-connect Sandler with the world around him. Also starring in the pic will be Jada Pinkett Smith and Liv Tyler. Personally, I think Binder is a fantastic writer who really knows how to tap into true human emotion. Definitely cannot wait for this one.