4 riding along on 'Jolene' trek


Dermot Mulroney, Donald Sutherland, Michael Vartan and Denise Richards have joined the cast of "Jolene," director Dan Ireland's new film starring newcomer Jessica Chastain in the title role. Rupert Friend and Theresa Russell also are starring.

"Jolene," which is shooting in Arizona, is being produced by Next Turn Prods.' Riva Yares, who originally optioned the story, and Zachary Matz, who produced Ireland's most recent film, the indie hit "Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont." Its screenplay was written by Dennis Yares.

The project is based on E.L. Doctorow's tale "Jolene: A Life," from the 2004 collection "Sweet Land Stories." It centers on a red-haired heroine (Chastain) whose cross-country adventures beginning at age 15 are tracked over the course of a decade. Chastain most recently starred opposite Al Pacino in the title role in the Los Angeles stage production of "Salome."

"Jolene" is the first independent feature to be based on Doctorow's work. Screen adaptations of his novels include the studio features "Welcome to Hard Times," "Ragtime," "Daniel" and "Billy Bathgate."

Mulroney, repped by ICM, plays Uncle Phil, a devilish Southerner who captures the heart of the teenage Jolene, stealing her away from her husband, who is his nephew. Mulroney appears in the upcoming films "Zodiac" and "Georgia Rule."

Sutherland, repped by CAA, is taking on the role of Sal, an ex-mobster in Las Vegas. His recent credits include the indie horror film "An American Haunting" and the ABC series "Commander in Chief."

Vartan, repped by Endeavor, plays Brad, a rich fundamentalist from Texas who marries Jolene. He next appears in the horror-thriller "Rogue."

Richards, repped by the Gersh Agency, has the role of Marin, who shows up to reclaim her two-timing husband, who is married to Jolene. She recently appeared in the indie feature "Edmond."