In casting news this week, a hip-hop legendtakes on a warrior tale, Gerard Depardieu shows no signs of slowing down and WesAnderson readies a new film before his latest even opens here.
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16 Jul 2012 - 10:47 AM  UPDATED 5 Nov 2012 - 5:30 PM

RZA reunites with Rusty
We've all learnt over the years to be wary of films starring rappers, but what about one co-written, directed and starring a hip-hop luminary? Rapper-producer RZA (pronounced riz-a) is one of the genre's giants, having remade hip-hop for the better in the 1990s with The Wu-Tang Clan, and his film connections include the distinctive scores for Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill movies, as well as small but nicely judged acting appearances in everything from Ridley Scott's American Gangster to Judd Apatow's Funny People.

Now RZA (his birth certificate says Robert Diggs) is expanding an interest in martial arts culture and comic books that he nurtured on record and in Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai to make The Man with the Iron Fists. RZA will play the African-American blacksmith in a 19th century Chinese village (that should make for some interesting back story) who literally turns himself into a weapon and bands together with various warriors to protect the citizenry, and the notables among the cast include Russell Crowe as a gunslinger and Lucy Liu (Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Charlie's Angels) as an assassin. Expect mayhem, and some great tunes.

Dispatches from the Pointless Sequel Department
Ed Helms (The Hangover) will play the character of Russell “Rusty” Griswold, the now grown son of Chevy Chase's bumbling Clark Griswold in a continuation of the National Lampoon's Vacation comedies.

Too much Gerard Depardieu is never enough

Gerard Depardieu is 63-years-old now, and in recent years as his girth has increased so have the eccentric comments in interviews, but by no means has his screen work pulled that far back from the highs of Jean de Florette and Camille Claudel. He's worked a lot this century, and some of the smaller films, such as Claude Chabrol's Bellamy and Francois Ozon's Potiche, have given new definition to his iconic profile.

As well as appearing in a small role in Ang Lee's long awaited adaptation of Yann Martel's best seller Life of Pi, which releases at the end of this year, Depardieu will appear in Miserere, the new French film from French-American filmmaker Sylvain White (The Losers). The macabre thriller focuses on a series of murders impeccably carried out by children, and Depardieu plays the veteran cop investigating, with his young partner played by French rapper Joey Starr, who's currently in the frenetic procedural Polisse.

Wes invites Johnny and Jude to play

Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom hasn't arrived in Australia yet (although it plays the Melbourne International Film Festival next month), but its comparative success internationally has spurred on the idiosyncratic auteur to begin assembling a promising ensemble cast for his next picture, which will be set in Europe (The Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums director has been residing in Paris for some years now). As well as Anderson regulars, such as the incomparable Bill Murray and former writing partner Owen Wilson, the new film could see the addition of Johnny Depp and Jude Law to the deadpan, distantly childlike place known as 'Wes World'.