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Today in casting news

There are times when I really think I shouldn’t mention another single casting related story. There are so many, and the news so often changes several times before the first day of shooting, that it seems kind of pointless. Nevertheless, today brings us a few such items that sort of demand a little attention.

* I don’t think I’ve mentioned the word that’s been floating around for a while now that Brad Pitt will apparently be opposite Robert Downey, Jr. playing the role of Sherlock Holmes’ archnemisis, Prof. James Moriarity, aka “the Napoleon of Crime.” Though it appears he’ll only be in a cameo role, if at all, in the upcoming “Sherlock Holmes” film directed by Guy Ritchie, he’ll apparently be handling head villain duties in the already-planned for sequel — assuming, of course, that the first film is reasonably profitable.

If you can’t get enough of excessively early speculation, Spout’s Christopher Campbell was way ahead of me and rounded that all up as of yesterday. Pitt seems an unusual choice, but he’s always seemed to do better in character roles than leading man parts, and Downey is a genius at bringing a bit of character to leading man roles, so there’s a nice bit of symmetry here.

* If one or even two well known leads can’t guarantee box office success, why not try four and add a cult-comedy kicker? That seems to be thinking behind the latest collaboration of comedy writer-director Adam McKay and post “Land of the Lost“-still-megastar Will Ferrell.

As described by MTV’s Mike Wigler and THR‘s Mike Fleming, “The Other Guys” is a post “Hot Fuzz” spin on the buddy-cop genre in which Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne “No Longer the Rock” Johnson will attempt to allow a day in the sun for presumably bumbling, non-supercop ne’er do wells Ferrell and Mark “It’s been Decades Since I’ve Been ‘Marky Mark!” Wahlberg.  Only time will tell if this funky bunch — which also includes English comic Steve Coogan of “Tropic Thunder” and “24 Hour Party People” — delivers at the box office, but all five of these guys have proven they can be varying degrees of funny.

For some reason Jackson  hasn’t had much luck with out-and-out comedies. (He once remarked wryly that, “They were all funny while we were making them.”) Personally, I’d like to see him break that particular curse. I’m sure he would too.

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