'Dancing With the Stars' winner and country singer Julianne Hough hardly had time to take off her 'Footloose' dancing shows before being cast opposite Tom Cruise in New Line's big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical 'Rock of Ages.' According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hough will play Sherrie, a small-town girl who goes to Hollywood to join the 1980s glam music scene and catches the eye of an arrogant and charming star at the top of his career. She rejects him and ends up a stripper before finding true love. Cruise -- who just joined the production in February and triggered off a spate of casting -- will play the rocker, Stacee Jaxx. Also cast is Mary J. Blige, who will play Justice Charlier, the owner of the Sunset Strip's exotic dance venue the Venus Club. Rumored to now be interested in the film are Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, but no deals have been set. Adam Shankman is directing from a script by Chris D'Arienzo, who's responsible for the Broadway book.

George Clooney just can't stay away from political thrillers. His latest, 'The Ides of March' -- which he directs and stars in -- has just been scheduled for an October 14 release date (with an eye to the next awards season) by Sony. The film, based on the play 'Farragut North,' which took as its base the 2004 Democratic primary campaign of Howard Dean, follows a young press secretary who falls prey to dirty backroom politics as he works to get his candidate elected in a tight race. Clooney has already begun shooting the production, which stars Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. [THR]

Short Takes:
Chris Pratt ('Parks and Recreation') and Rhys Ifans are set to join Nicholas Stoller's 'Five-Year Engagement,' a rom-com starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt that chronicles the highs and lows of a romantic relationship. The film -- produced by Judd Apatow, Rodney Rothman and Stoller -- is scheduled to begin production next month. [Variety] ... Mira Sorvino and Dermot Mulroney will headline 'Trade of Innocents,' a drama about a couple who, while grieving their daughter's death, set out to rescue girls who are sold into the sex slave trade. The film will shoot in Southeast Asia this month and in April. [TheWrap] ... He may be a jackass, but Johnny Knoxville brings in the big bucks, and Paramount wants to keep the money flowing. The studio has preemptively bought for Knoxville 'First Man,' a pitch about a natural hell raiser whose wife is elected president and, though he has behaved during his wife's campaign, reverts to his rowdy nature when he moves into the White House as first man. The studio is also reconfiguring 'Mustache Riders' for Knoxville and buddies Bam Margera and Ryan Dunn. The comedy is about three small-time crooks who join a grizzled old outlaw (Willie Nelson) to find a buried treasure. [Deadline]
CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical