Screentalk: How to get a break in Hollywood


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The Independent Culture

It was a relief for the LA movie production community when a California state assembly committee said yes to a five-year extension for the state's tax-incentive programme.

The programme grants $100m a year in tax credits in California. Once it becomes law, it should mean Tom Cruise needn't worry about where to shoot his next Mission: Impossible.

The Identity parade expands

John Cho and Clark Duke are the latest names to sign up for the Seth Gordon comedy The Identity Thief. The duo join a cast that reads like a who's who of comic actors; Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy will do the heavy lifting. Bateman plays a family man who gets a life-lesson in stepping up when his identity is stolen by a mess of a woman (McCarthy).

A big Day for young gun Gattlin

It's all about the next big thing for US studios. Good news, then, for Gattlin Griffith, who, at only13, has landed a plumb role acting for Jason Reitman in the drama Labor Day. He is ironing out a deal to join Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin in Reitman's follow-up to Young Adult. Hollywood insiders say Reitman toiled for months to find the right child.

The odds are in Lawrence's favour

Hollywood water-cooler chat is occupied with the choice of Francis Lawrence to pick up the box-office hopes for the Lionsgate-backed Catching Fire, the follow-up to The Hunger Games. He is tipped to replace Gary Ross, who directed Games but is not returning for the second in what will be a series of four adaptations from Suzanne Collins' trilogy of books.

No country for B-list talent

It is not surprising that a drug drama script from Cormac McCarthy, to be directed by Ridley Scott, would attract top talent. Penélope Cruz is set to join Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and her husband, Javier Bardem, in The Counselor. Set on the Mexican border, the story centres on a lawyer, a good man in need of money, who decides to dabble in the cocaine trade.

Machete sequel's new lethal weapon

Mel Gibson is in talks to join Machete Kills, Robert Rodriguez's follow-up to his 2010 film Machete. Danny Trejo is back as the disgraced Mexican federales. Gibson's casting comes on the back of Rodriguez's visit to the Austin premiere of Get the Gringo, which stars Gibson. This time, Machete will try to stop a cartel leader and an arms dealer who have a weapon in space.