Some mid-week casting nibblets:

The wonderful Willem Dafoe is about to make a trip to Mars. The Hollywood Reporter posts that Dafoe has signed on to play Tars Tarkas in the Civil War/space project John Carter of Mars. Seeing Dafoe take a slight pause from his horror-filled schedule is nice, and it's even better that Tarkas is both a great warrior and compassionate man -- a gig that Dafoe should be able to tackle easily. But there is a twist -- Dafoe is once again going green for a gig. This is what Tarkas looks like.

And it's been a while since we got casting news for Rod Lurie's Straw Dogs remake, but now Variety reports that Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgard are joining the roster. Bosworth will play James Marsden's wife, as they leave Hollywood for her Mississippi hometown. Skarsgard will play her old high school boyfriend and ex-football hero. One things for certain: this isn't the usual crop of names one would see on such an epically violent story.

Meanwhile, Christine Baranski will play Jennifer Aniston's mom in her Gerard Butler comedy Bounty Hunter, according to Variety. There's still no word on just what kind of fugitive Aniston is, and why, but Baranski should make things interesting.

And finally, Patrick Dempsey is changing things up a bit with a new big-screen role. Variety reports that he'll star in Universal's adaptation of The Art of Racing in the Rain. Yes, it's a racing movie, but not exactly a racing movie. See, it's fueled by memories from "Enzo, a family dog with a near-human soul and philosopher's mind, who evaluates his life through the lessons learned by his human owner, the race-car driver Denny Swift." No romance and fairy tale quirk this time around, just a little Marley magic and a bit of Dempsey's own race car driving ways.