'Bloom' on for Brody, Kikuchi

4:00 AM PST 02/06/2007 by Anne Thompson, AP

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Screenwriter-director Rian Johnson has cast Oscar winner Adrien Brody and Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi to join Oscar winner Rachel Weisz in Endgame Entertainment's "The Brothers Bloom," an international con man adventure that is Johnson's follow-up to 2005's teen film noir "Brick."

The Weinstein Co. International is selling foreign territories at this month's Berlin International Film Festival; CAA and Cinetic Media are selling domestic rights. The project is produced by Ram Bergman and Endgame Entertainment's Jim Stern.

Endgame has raised equity financing for the film, budgeted at more than $20 million and scheduled to start production March 19 in 12 countries in Europe, Scandinavia and Asia.

Brody will play Bloom, the younger brother in a veteran team of con men who falls for a mysterious millionaire (Weisz) who turns the tables on them as they take on one last job after Brody threatens to quit the family business. Kikuchi will play the brothers' sexy and secretive accomplice.

"Brothers" reunites Bergman and Johnson, who teamed on the critically hailed rookie feature "Brick," which won the Special Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and was released by Focus Features. Stern has compared "Brothers" to "The Sting." Bergman hopes to bring the movie to the Festival de Cannes in 2008. Wendy Japhet, Endgame's new president of production, is the executive producer.

Johnson was wooed by Brody's "natural charm and intelligence," he said. "Rinko blew me — and everyone else in the world — away in 'Babel.' "

Brody won an Oscar for "The Pianist." He last starred in Allen Coulter's film noir mystery "Hollywoodland," and recently wrapped Wes Anderson's "The Darjeeling Limited" for Focus Features and completed a co-starring role opposite Penelope Cruz in Menno Meyjes' "Manolete."

Kikuchi earned an Oscar nomination as best supporting actress for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Babel," her first American film. She landed the role of an exhibitionist deaf-mute teenager after she learned to sign in Japanese. Kikuchi also starred in Katsuhito Ishii's "The Taste of Tea," which screened at Cannes in 2004, Kazuyoshi Kumakiri's "Hole in the Sky" and "Tori/Kokorono Katana," directed by Tadanobu Asano.

Endgame Entertainment recently sold Todd Hayne's Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There" to the Weinstein Co. and produced and financed Daniel Myrick's supernatural thriller "Solstice." Previous productions include "Hotel Rwanda," "Proof" and "Lord of War."

Bergman produced "Brick," Sergei Bodrov's Kazakhstan epic adventure "Nomad," which Weinstein Co. will release in March, and the Mexican border drama "La Misma Luna," which sold to Fox Searchlight and the Weinstein Co. at January's Sundance Film Festival.

CAA represents Brody and Kikuchi.
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