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Casting Couch: Who's Testing for Directors Roland Emmerich, Akiva Goldsman and 'Die Hard 5' (Exclusive)

Liam Hemsworth
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

A particularly busy time in casting circles sees up-and-comers battling for a plum part, Emmerich looking at hot young actors and Liam Hemsworth emerging as the frontrunner to play Bruce Willis' kid in 'Die Hard 5'

Actors will rise (or not), careers will live (or die), and agents will sweat (tons).

The next few weeks are shaping up to deliver a maelstrom of casting news as studios try to put together big projects. These weeks will give shape to big-budget tentpoles and passion projects, and because the companies are not necessarily looking for brand-name stars, the roles could be big breaks for those vying for them. Many of the actors in contention have names that middle America hasn't heard yet, as studios try to deal with the fact that no actors have come to the fore in a way that Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio or even Jake Gyllenhaal have.

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"The town is revolving around six or eight men right now," says one agent.

Writer-director Akiva Goldsman is trying to move forward on his passion project Winter's Tale, a period reincarnation story that is set up at Warner Bros. Chemistry reads involving Tom Hiddleston (Loki in Marvel's Thor) and Benjamin Walker (the upcoming Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) are scheduled for this weekend as all are said to be in the mix for the male role of a criminal on the run. For the female part of a terminally ill woman, the list includes Bella Heathcote (on screen currently in In Time), Elizabeth Olsen, Gabriele Wilde (Three Musketeers) and Sarah Gadon (A Dangerous Method). Russell Crowe is loosely attached as the villain, although the entire project may hinge on it finding a third-party financier.

More relative unknowns will get their chance at the big-time with Singularity. Next week, Roland Emmerich's latest sci-fi extravaganza will attempt to find its male lead when the director reads actors to play the role of Adam, a young man whose body is made up a swarm of nanobots, giving him all sorts of power. The names on the list to read include Luke Grimes (who appeared in TV's Brothers and Sisters and made his feature debut with All the Boys Love Mandy Lane), Logan Marshall Green (from TV's Dark Blue, who appears in Ridley Scott's Prometheus), Julian Morris (who appeared in TV's Pretty Little Liars and the short-lived ABC show My Generation) and Thomas McDonell (who appeared in Prom and is playing a young Johnny Depp in the upcoming Dark Shadows) among other names. Other names circling the part (but not involved in the reading) are Ben Barnes and Luke Bracey.

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Tuesday will be Akira's turn at bat. Warners' adaptation of the Japanese classic is looking for the actor to play Tetsuo, a young man with telekinetic abilities who becomes a dangerous weapon. (Garrett Hedlund is in negotiations to play Kaneda, the teen's older brother and leader of a motorcycle gang.) Ezra Miller, the emerging star of indie thriller We Need To Talk About Kevin, and Alden Eherenreich (who starred in Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro) are the names surfacing most often with the reading. 

Warners is also trying to nail down its Arthur for David Dobkin's Arthur & Lancelot. Kit Harrington is re-testing and the studio is trying to make test deals with Richard Madden, who plays Robb Stark in HBO's Game of Thrones, and Luke Evans, who is currently in theaters with Three Musketeers and has Immortals out next week. Toby Kebbell, who broke out in RocknRolla, will also be involved in the testing, which is said to be next week. (The Killing star Joel Kinnaman is in negotiations to portray Lancelot.) 

Die Hard 5, which is now called A Good Day to Die Hard, will attempt to find the young man to play Bruce Willis' son, with frontrunners Liam Hemsworth, Aaron Paul, and Ben Foster among those who will take part in chemistry reads with Willis, reprising his role of John McLane, on November 12 and 13. (We¹re hearing the part of Hemsworth's to lose.)

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com

Twitter: @Borys_Kit