Casting News: "Fantastic Beasts," "Scooby Doo," Josephine Baker + More

I’ve had a ton of movie casting news that flooded my inbox and Twitter feed last week, and I am only just now able to get to everything. So let’s get into everything. First, I have to promote some Warner Bros. films. Last week, the big news was the start of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and an animated Scooby-Doo feature film. I’m more surprised by the Scooby-Doo film announcement; I wasn’t expecting it. Being a big Scooby-Doo fan, I’m intrigued.

As you might recall, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on the J.K. Rowling book based in the Harry Potter universe, stars Eddie Redmayne as the in-universe writer of Fantastic Beasts, Newt Scamander. Cue the Tumblrs. Redmayne is currently starring as transgender woman Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl. 

Here are the official press releases:

FILMING GETS UNDERWAY ON “FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM”

Much-anticipated new film, written by wizarding world creator J.K. Rowling and being directed by David Yates, starts production in England

BURBANK, CA – August 17, 2015 – Principal photography has begun on Warner Bros. Pictures’ highly anticipated feature “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”  The all new adventure is set in the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling in her best-selling Harry Potter books, which were adapted into the highest-grossing film franchise of all time.

Filming started today, August 17, at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, under the direction of David Yates, who helmed the last four “Harry Potter” feature films.

Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) stars as Newt Scamander, the wizarding world’s preeminent magizoologist, who stops in New York following his travels to find and document magical creatures.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” also stars Katherine Waterston (“Inherent Vice”) as Tina; Alison Sudol (“Dig,” “Transparent”) as Tina’s sister, Queenie; Tony Award winner Dan Fogler (“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”) as Jacob; Ezra Miller (“Trainwreck”) as Credence; two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton (“In America,” “Sweet and Lowdown”) as Mary Lou; Jenn Murray (“Brooklyn”) as Chastity; young newcomer Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty; and Colin Farrell (“True Detective”) as Graves.

Marking the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, the script was inspired by her character Newt Scamander’s Hogwarts textbook, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The film is being produced by David Heyman, producer of all eight of the blockbuster “Harry Potter” features; J.K. Rowling; Steve Kloves; and Lionel Wigram.

Collaborating with Yates behind the scenes are: Oscar-winning director of photography Philippe Rousselot (“A River Runs Through It,” the “Sherlock Holmes” movies), three-time Oscar-winning production designer Stuart Craig (“The English Patient,” “Dangerous Liaisons,” “Gandhi,” the “Harry Potter” films), three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood (“Chicago,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Alice in Wonderland”), Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Tim Burke (“Gladiator,” the “Harry Potter” films), Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisor Christian Manz (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1”), and Yates’ longtime editor Mark Day (the last four “Harry Potter” films).

Warner Bros. Pictures has slated “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” for worldwide release in 3D and IMAX on November 18, 2016

SCOOBY-DOO AND THE GANG RETURN TO THE BIG SCREEN IN NEW WARNER BROS. PICTURES ANIMATED FEATURE

 Opening September 21, 2018, Film Marks Reintroduction of Hanna-Barbera Animated Favorites to Moviegoers Everywhere

BURBANK, CA, August 17, 2015 – Fire up the Mystery Machine!  Scooby-Doo and his crime-busting pals will soon embark on a brand new comedy adventure, as Warner Bros. Pictures prepares to bring the beloved Hanna-Barbera franchise back to theaters on September 21, 2018.  The announcement was made jointly today by Greg Silverman, President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, Sue Kroll, President of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution, and Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President of Worldwide Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

The film reunites Oscar-nominated producers Charles Roven and Richard Suckle (“American Hustle”), who previously produced the Studio’s hugely successful live-action features “Scooby-Doo” and “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.”  Joining them is BAFTA Award-winning producer Allison Abbate (“The Iron Giant”), who produced the Oscar-nominated features “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride” and “Frankenweenie.”

It will be directed by multiple Emmy Award nominee Tony Cervone (“Space Jam,” Cartoon Network’s “The Looney Tunes Show” and “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated”).  Renowned animation visionary Dan Povenmire (“Phineas and Ferb,” “Family Guy”) will also bring his creative sensibilities to the production as an executive producer.  The screenplay is by Matt Lieberman (“Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief”).

The new Scooby-Doo feature will be a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation under the Warner Animation Group (WAG) banner.

In making the announcement, Silverman acknowledged, “Like countless fans, I have always loved the Hanna-Barbera cast of characters.  As one of their most famous brand ambassadors, Scooby-Doo will take the lead in re-introducing this pantheon of enduringly popular animated stars on a grand scale with an exciting new movie.”

Said Fellman, “It’s always a treat to see Scooby-Doo on the big screen and to share his larger-than-life adventures with audiences. As anticipation grows throughout production, the movie’s mid-September release date should start the fall season with a burst of fun.”

Added Kroll, “It’s wonderful to be working with this talented and inspired team of filmmakers.  We couldn’t ask for better producers than Charles Roven, Richard Suckle and Allison Abbate, who have such affection and respect for this property and know the Hanna-Barbera universe so well.”

Kwan Vandenberg further stated, “Scooby-Doo and his friends have the kind of universal appeal that reaches across cultures as well as generations.  We expect this new take on the franchise to generate even more fans around the world.”

The rest of the entries will be just one to two sentences, with the links ready for your perusal.

Alfre Woodard is the newest cast member to the Netflix Luke Cage series.

Will Smith will star in Collateral Beauty, which will also star Rooney Mara and will be directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (the director of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl).

Laurence Fishburne will act alongside Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen and Jennifer Lawrence in romantic sci-fi film Passengers.

Insurgent’s Keiynan Lionsdale will play Wally West in The Flash.

Mariah Carey will be a part of Empire this season! Also joining her is Pitbull.

Uzo Aduba and Amber Riley will play good witches in NBC’s live production of The Wiz. 

Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim Akil are going to make more television programs thanks to their new deal with Warner Bros. TV.

Dear White People producer Lena Waithe and Common will be able to bring a new drama to Showtime. Waithe will write the script; Common with produce.

David Oyelowo becomes the first black James Bond thanks to lending his voice to the new Trigger Mortis audiobook.

Jennifer Hudson is slated to play Aretha Franklin in an upcoming biopic!

Sanaa Hamri will direct the biopic of young, groundbreaking ballerina Michaela DePrince.

John Boyega’s next role will be another main lead! He’ll be starring in The Circle opposite Emma Watson and Tom Hanks.

A Master P biopic is coming, created by Master P.

Will Smith is executive producing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air reboot. We’ll have to wait and see what this will be like.

Celebrity chef Kristen Kish is hosting her own Travel Channel show!

Michelle Veintimilla joins this season of Gotham as Firefly.

Stephanie Sigman joins American Crime.

Dwayne Johnson will make more Disney magic with the live-action film Jungle Cruise

Howard Gordon is producing a new medical drama written by Bones and The Finder writer Nkechi Okoro Carroll. The leads, expected to be black and Latino, all grew up in Compton and meet up again at their place of work, an edgy Beverly Hills hospital. Carroll will also executive produce.

Deborah Cox will play both Josephine Baker AND Whitney Houston. Cox will play Baker and Houston’s role in The Bodyguard in two separate stage plays. It’s also worth noting that Cox lent her voice to the Lifetime Whitney Houston TV movie.

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