Shekhar Kapur's long planned sci-fi epic, Paani, is finally going into production.
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24 Feb 2014 - 12:02 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2014 - 12:37 PM

You have to credit Shekhar Kapur for his persistence. In 2007, when the Indian filmmaker was in Melbourne to promote his period sequel with Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, he told me that he planned to make a film about the coming wars over the worldwide lack of water, something that was already an issue in his homeland and which he believed would become existential to mankind's future. Eight years later and he's finally casting that film, Paani, using Indian and American actors for the dystopic tale set in a futuristic city of 20 million people where hydration is scarce.

Kapur has cast Sushant Singh Rajput (Pai po che!) in one role, but last month the filmmaker had to take to Twitter to quell online reports in India that Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, American Hustle) would be the female lead. With Kapur recently in Los Angeles taking auditions his search goes on, and his dedication might also be an indicator that another thing he mentioned in 2007 – that he wanted Blanchett to make an Elizabeth trilogy with him – might also come to pass.

Mulligan's movement
Carey Mulligan as a revolutionary? In Suffragette, the Drive and Great Gatsby star will play a young woman on the front line of the first feminist movement in the initial years of 20th century Britain. Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) will direct the drama, which last week also added Meryl Streep, in the supporting role of Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, to the cast. Rounding out the British production are Romola Garai (Atonement), Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club, The King's Speech), Ben Whishaw (Skyfall, Cloud Atlas) and Brendan Gleeson (The Guard, The Cup).

Reboot news
Your new Fantastic Four for director Josh Trank (Chronicle) are Jamie Bell (Jumpers, King Kong) as The Thing, Kate Mara (127 Hours, television's House of Cards) as The Invisible Woman, Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle, Fruitvale Station) as the Human Torch, and Mile Teller (The Spectacular Now, Whiplash) as Mr. Fantastic. Soon geeks can forget that there were Fantastic Four films made in 2005 and 2007 that starred Jessica Alba and Julian McMahon.

Jim and Judy join forces
Jim Loach obviously likes Australia. The English filmmaker (and son of Ken) will follow his 2010 debut, Oranges and Sunshine, which told the adult story of British children forcibly relocated to Australia in the years after World War II, with another Australian-set story. Written by actor turned screenwriter Judy Morris (Happy Feet, The Eye of the Storm), the untitled family tale is the multi-generational story of Spanish immigrants whose dysfunctional life is too much for their 12-year-old son. The cast will include Paz Vega (Spanglish, I'm So Excited!) and Pedro Almodovar favourite Carmen Maura (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Volver).

Tina and the Taliban
Tina Fey's post-30 Rock career has a new film project. The writer and actor will star in The Taliban Shuffle, an adaptation of American journalist Kim Barker's memoir about her posting to Afghanistan, where she covered the Islamic militants and the American military's battles in the country while rapidly learning about the region's complexities. Fey will next be seen in April's somewhat lighter Muppets Most Wanted.

Photo credit: Gareth Cattermole.