Nicolas Cage

Jim Spellman/

Nicolas Cage is going from Ghost Rider to The Ghost.

The actor has come aboard to star opposite fellow Oscar winner Tilda Swinton and Pierce Brosnan in Roman Polanski's feature version of Robert Harris' political thriller.

The story revolves around a ghostwriter (Cage) hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister (Brosnan) after the first scribe on the job winds up dead. While conducting research for the project, the ghostwriter stumbles upon a dangerous conspiracy that threatens his life.

Swinton will play the politico's wife, who ends up falling for Cage's character.

Polanski and Harris adapted the script, and shooting is slated to get under way in September in Europe.

In other casting news from the trades:

    • Deadwood's Timothy Olyphant has signed on for the second season of FX's Damages, playing a guy who gets involved with Rose Byrne's legal eagle, Ellen Parsons. He joins William Hurt as the other recent new hire. Returning this season are series' stars Glenn Close, Tate Donovan and Byrne.
    • Hart Bochner (Die Hard) joins USA Network's The Starter Wife as the new love interest of Debra Messing's character, a teacher in Molly's writing class. The cable net will launch a 10-episode regular series in October. Judy Davis and Chris Diamantopoulos are returning as regulars, while new castmembers include Ronny Cox (The Agency), David Alan Basche (Lipstick Jungle), Krista Allen (Unscripted) and Brielle Barbusca as Molly's daughter, Jaden.
    • Desperate Housewives' Marcia Cross is set to headline the indie comedy Peck opposite Adam Arkin and Camryn Manheim. The film centers on a teen whose bossy parents force him to compete in a science fair, where he strikes up a friendship with the most popular girl in his school.
    • Aidan Quinn and Rutger Hauer are teaming up to topline ABC's ensemble drama pilot Prince of Motor City. Touted as a gothic family soap opera taking its cues from Hamlet, the story revolves around Billy Hamilton (Warren Christie), a young Harvard philosophy professor who returns to Detroit to assume control of the family's auto company after his father's death. Quinn will essay the part of Billy's uncle Charlie while Hauer will play Billy's late dad, who turns up in his estranged son's life as a ghost.
    • Dukes of Hazzard alum John Schneider is starring in and executive producing twentysixmiles, a six-episode ensemble drama series that is being independently financed and does not yet have a distributor. He plays a high-powered Los Angeles executive who takes up residence on the island of Catalina just off the California coast to be closer to his kids following a divorce. Popping up in bit parts on the show are George Segal, Jeffrey Tambor and James Denton.
    • Former Star Trek: Voyager captain Kate Mulgrew is piloting her way to Broadway, costarring with Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths in the revival of Equus. The actress will play a sympathetic magistrate who champions the case of a disturbed young man who blinds six horses. Previews begin Sept. 5.
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