Robert De Niro gets to play another of his trademarked hard-nosed spy/killers (think 'Ronin') in the international action thriller 'The Killer Elite.' According to Variety, De Niro will star opposite Jason Statham and Clive Owen in a $66 million production based on Ranulph Fiennes' 1993 nonfiction book 'The Feather Men,' which follows a group of black ops agents for hire, who must hunt down and destroy a rogue cell of assassins. De Niro will play the mentor to Statham's character, who comes out of retirement when De Niro is kidnapped by the bad guys. The film began shooting in Melbourne this week. "Killer Elite" also stars Dominic Purcell, Yvonne Strahovski, Ben Mendelsohn, Aden Young and newcomer Firass Dirani. Robert De Niro gets to play another of his trademarked hard-nosed spy/killers (think 'Ronin') in the international action thriller 'The Killer Elite.' According to Variety, De Niro will star opposite Jason Statham and Clive Owen in a $66 million production based on Ranulph Fiennes' 1993 nonfiction book 'The Feather Men,' which follows a group of black ops agents for hire, who must hunt down and destroy a rogue cell of assassins. De Niro will play the mentor to Statham's character, who comes out of retirement when De Niro is kidnapped by the bad guys. The film began shooting in Melbourne this week. "Killer Elite" also stars Dominic Purcell, Yvonne Strahovski, Ben Mendelsohn, Aden Young and newcomer Firass Dirani.

According to a report at Deadline Hollywood, those wacky Wachowski brothers (who brought you the monumental 'Matrix' trilogy, then foundered with 'Speed Racer') are pitching a new script that harkens -- in a way -- to their 1996 lesbian thriller 'Bound' (starring Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon). They're circulating a script that "focuses on a 'hard R' homosexual relationship between a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi. It's a cinema verite-style treatment that begins in the near future and then spans back over years that include the current war in Iraq," Deadline Hollywood said. The brothers are keen to direct it and have the project out to the moneymen.

More woes for Roman Polanski. British actress Charlotte Lewis has come forward with allegations of sexual abuse by the director, according to a report at TheWrap. At a press conference on Friday in Los Angeles, Lewis alleged that Polanski "sexually abused me in the worst possible way when I was just 16 years old, four years after he fled the United States to avoid sentencing for his crime" (Polanski is fighting extradition to the U.S., where he faces sentencing in a 1977 case involving sex with a 13-year-old girl.) Polanski "met me and forced himself upon me in his apartment in Paris" in 1982, she said. According to the report, Lewis said she came forward because she heard that as part of Polanski fighting extradition to the U.S., "his legal team is portraying his previous offense against a minor as an isolated incident."

Paul Dano, who played the offbeat preacher who met a nasty end in 'There Will Be Blood' has been added to the cast of Jon Favreau's 'Cowboys & Aliens,' a sci-fi Western in which settlers and Indians must set aside differences to fend off an alien invasion. Already cast in the film, according to Deadline Hollywood, is Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Noah Ringer, Keith Carradine and Clancy Brown. The film starts production next month in New Mexico for a 2011 release'

FROM CANNES:
Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Bruce Willis is joining the cast of 'Looper,' a science fiction time travel film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, about futuristic hit men, called Loopers, "whose victims are sent back in time from the future to be executed. The Loopers bump them off in the present, so there is no trace of a crime in the future." Willis and Gordon-Levitt will play the same character, in different time frames.

Pierce Brosnan, Billy Bob Thornton, Maria Bello and Giovanni Ribisi are joining Walter Hill's 'St. Vincent,' a crime thriller about a hit man (Brosnan) who goes undercover as a priest to get close to his target, a gangland traitor (Thornton). The hit man soon discovers that playing the good guy is more dangerous than being a mob killer. The film begins shooting in July in Detroit. [Variety]

James Wong, director and creator of 'Final Destination,' is getting ready to write and direct a remake of Yasuo Inoue's 'The Neighbor Number 13,' a Japanese film that tells the story of a young boy who witnesses an extreme case of school yard bullying that stays with him as he grows up until he eventually takes "justice" into his own hands. [THR]

Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, who produced the exquisite indie film 'An Education,' have received financial backing for an adaptation of Nick Hornby's bestselling 'A Long Way Down.' The dark comedy follows two women and two men who meet on New Year's Eve on the roof of a tall building with the intent of killing themselves, but as they interact with each other, they turn away from their suicidal thoughts. Hornby, by the way, adapted the screenplay for 'An Education.' [Variety]

Danny Huston, no stranger to playing villains and all around nasty men, will turn around and play a different character in 'Playoff,' a sports drama from Israeli director Eran Riklis, based on the real-life story of Israeli basketball coach Ralph Klein. Huston will play the Holocaust survivor who, after coaching Tel Aviv to victory in the European basketball championships, gets a call to train the German national team. [THR]

Cannes Short Takes:
Stanley Tucci and Carla Gugino have joined the cast of 'Margin Call,' which also stars Kevin Spacey and Zachary Quinto, a film set at a bank during the 2008 financial meltdown ... Sundance Channel and IFC Films are joining forces to release Olivier Assayas' 'Carlos,' a 5 1/2-hour portrait of terrorist Carlos the Jackal, in the U.S. ... London-based Ealing Studios is putting together a biopic about legendary jazz singer Nina Simone, best remembered for her sensuous rendition of 'I Put a Spell on You.' Mary J. Blige would play Simone.

CATEGORIES Movies