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Casting Couch: Maguire's Crusaders; Hounsou's Conan Spinoff; SJP's Reality; Monk's 100th

Tobey Magure, Djimon Hounsou, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tony Shalhoub AP Photo, USA

In today's edition, Tobey Maguire is going from Spider-Man to SCOTUS; Djimon Hounsou is crazy for Conan; Don Cheadle gets his Marching orders; Sarah Jessica Parker gets real for cable TV; and Monk loads up for its 100th B-day.

First up, Maguire reunites with his Seabiscuit director, Gary Ross, to star in The Crusaders, a drama chronicling the legal eagles who won the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case in the '50s.

Per Variety, Maguire would play Jack Greenberg, an idealistic fresh-out-of-school lawyer who teams up with the NAACP and a young Thurgood Marshall to win the Supreme Court decision that desegregated America's schools.

The 33-year-old thesp will executive produce along with Ross and his Universal-based shingle, Larger Than Life Productions.

This will mark Maguire's third collaboration with Ross, following 2003's Best Picture Oscar-nominated Seabiscuit and 1998's fantasy Pleasantville.

Maguire next appears in theaters opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman in Jim Sheridan's war drama Brothers, about a young man who looks after his older brother's wife after the latter disappears in Afghanistan. He'll then segue into the comedy-romance Quiet Type, about a mute man who moves to the Big Apple with dreams of conducting an orchestra.

Meanwhile, fanboys will be heartened to learn that Hounsou is joining forces with Dynamite Entertainment to produce and star in a big-screen adventure about a key character in the Conan the Barbarian and Krull comicbooks.

The erstwhile Gladiator star will essay the role of the powerful necromancer Thulsa Doom (played in 1982's Conan the Barbarian by James Earl Jones). Dynamite plans to publish a new comic book based on the character next year, and the new film is expected to delve into Doom's early years as a flawed hero before sinking into villainy.

In other casting news:

  • Don Cheadle is prepping Marching Powder, a drama based on the true story of a British drug smuggler who gets busted in a sting operation in Bolivia and thrown into La Paz's San Pedro prison for six years. While there, he witnesses what is essentially a bizarro version of the Bolivian economy as prisoners run their own businesses and bribe guards to let their families come and live with them. Brazilian filmmaker Jose Padilha is set to direct.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker is set to executive produce and possibly appear in American Artist, a new reality competition pilot for Bravo which finds aspiring artists competing for a chance to make it in the art world. Contestants will be judged by a panel of experts on everything from drawings and paintings to sculpture and installations.
  • British actor James Purefoy is in talks to topline NBC's midseason drama series Philanthropist, about a rebel billionaire who puts his riches and powerful contacts to good use helping people in need, no matter the cost. Philanthropist is slated to air on Mondays at 10 p.m. Purefoy previously starred as Mark Antony in HBO's critically acclaimed series Rome.
  • To celebrate the 100th episode of Monk this summer, USA is bringing back a slew of former guest stars to reprise their roles opposite Tony Shalhoub. Dubbed "Mr. Monk's 100th Case," the segment will feature, among others, Will & Grace's Eric McCormack as "In Focus" reporter James Curry; The West Wing's Kathryn Joosten as Monk's old babysitter; John Turturro as Monk's agoraphobic brother, Ambrose; and Tim Bagley as Monk's archenemy Harold Krenshaw. Other guests include Howie Mandel as former cult leader Ralph Roberts; Sarah Silverman as Monk's biggest fan Marcie Maven; Andy Richter; Sharon Lawrence; and Brooke Adams. The episode airs Sept. 5.

 

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