The Iranian-born and Parisian-based graphic artist turned filmmaker Marjane Satrapi has already made a pair of ingenious films with Persepolis and Chicken with Plums, and for her next movie she's going to make another unlikely mix of genres. The Voices is a psychological thriller with comedic overtones, telling the story of a bathroom fixtures factor worker named Jerry who accidentally kills a female colleague and then takes advice on what to do next from the voices of his cat and dog (who says they can't get along). The setting isn't clear, but the cast would suggest America: Jerry will be played by Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds (Safe House), who used to have an acerbic comic persona until he went to the gym, while his co-star will include Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans) and Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom).
Chastain buys into zoo
The demand for Jessica Chastain, who has been a revelation over the last three years – who else shone in material that spans Zero Dark Thirty and The Tree of Life to Mama and The Help – hasn't abated. The actress with the flame-coloured hair is already committed to the adaptation of August Strindberg's classic 19th century play Miss Julie for Ingmar Bergman's onetime muse Liv Ullmann, as well as Guillermo Del Toro's horror film Crimson Peak, where she will co-star with Emma Stone (The Help), Charlie Hunnam (Del Toro's forthcoming giant robots versus monsters epic Pacific Rim), and the impeccable diction of Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness). Now Chastain will play the lead for New Zealand filmmaker Niki Caro (Whale Rider) in The Zookeeper's Wife, an adaptation of Diane Ackerman's novel about a couple who used their workplace, Warsaw's zoo, to hide Jewish targets of the Nazi German occupiers during World War II.
Bernal to the rescue
Gael Garcia Bernal, who currently gives a wonderfully nuanced performance in Pablo Larrain's No, is at work on his latest movie in Argentina. In El Ardor he plays a version of Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name who mysteriously emerges from the country's interior to rescue a woman kidnapped by the mercenaries who killed her father and seized her family's farm. Bernal co-stars with Alice Braga (I Am Legend) for director Pablo Fendrik (The Mugger), although it remains to be seen if the versatile actor will go ahead with the mooted Zorro Reborn, an attempt to update the swashbuckling legend.
From Snowtown to Scotland
Michael Fassbender (Shame) was one of the actors who departed from the troubled western Jane Got a Gun recently (albeit early and quietly), but it obviously hasn't soured his working relationship with that movie's star and producer, Natalie Portman. The two already feature in an untitled forthcoming Terrence Malick film (as opposed to Knight of Cups, another forthcoming Terrence Malick film), and now they appear ready to commit to playing two of Shakespeare's most demanding and iconic roles: Lord and Lady Macbeth. The new version, set in 11th century Scotland and reportedly featuring the original dialogue, will be directed by Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel (Snowtown), who is about to go into production on Our Kind of Traitor, a John Le Carre adaptation starring Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting), Ralph Fiennes (Skyfall) and Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt). No word on the witches yet.