Jeff Daniels Joining Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' (Exclusive)

Jeff Daniels Emmys Limo Drop - P 2014
<p>Jeff Daniels Emmys Limo Drop - P 2014</p>   |   AP Images/Invision
Jessica Chastain and Kate Mara also are in talks

With his TV show Newsroom ending with its third season this fall, Jeff Daniels is gearing up to join an exciting film project: Ridley Scott's high-profile sci-fi movie The Martian.

The actor is in talks to join the Fox film, which has had a flurry of casting news lately. Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig and Kate Mara are circling the project, which stars Matt Damon.

The story centers on an astronaut (Damon) who is stranded in a Martian colony and struggles to survive. Back on Earth, NASA tries to launch a rescue mission.

Daniels would play the director of NASA dealing with the crisis.

Scott signed on to direct the project after Drew Goddard exited, due to his directing commitments for Sony’s Sinister Six, the planned Spider-Man spinoff. Scott is producing with Simon Kinberg and Aditya Sood, who originally found the book that is the basis for the film. Steve Asbell is overseeing for Fox.

Goddard wrote the script for The Martian based on the book by Andy Weir, which was self-published by Amazon on Sept. 27, 2012.

Daniels has been starring as witty news anchor Will McAvoy on HBO's Newsroom, which will air its final season beginning in November. He'll reprise his iconic role as Harry Dunne opposite Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber To, which will hit theaters Nov. 14, 20 years after the original film. He's repped by ICM Partners and manager Paul Martino.

E-mail: Rebecca.Ford@THR.com
Twitter: @Beccamford