'Secretariat' wins three for cast

Fred Thompson returns to features for Disney project

Former senator Fred Thompson is making his return to the chamber of feature acting, joining A.J. Michalka and Kevin Connolly in Disney's "Secretariat," the story of the horse that won the 1973 Triple Crown.

Margo Martindale, Eric Lange and Drew Roy also have joined the cast of the Randall Wallace-directed picture that stars Diane Lane as the horse's owner, Penny Tweedy, the housewife who broke though a gender barrier to usher Secretariat to greatness.

Thompson will play a master horse breeder and one-time horse-racing league president Bull Hancock. Michalka will play Lane's daughter; Connolly will play a sportswriter.

Martindale ("Mercy") will play a veteran executive secretary who assists Lane through a dark time, Lange ("Lost") will portray real-life sportswriter Andy Beyer, and Roy ("Hannah Montana") will play Thompson's son.

WME-repped Thompson will shoot "Secretariat," then segue to the indie "Alleged" with Brian Dennehy.

Michalka, repped by CAA and Lynda Goodfriend, next appears in Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones." She and her sister, Aly Michalka, known as pop duo Aly & AJ, will release their new album under their new name, 78violet.

"Entourage" star Connolly, repped by WME, most recently appeared on the big screen in "He's Just Not That Into You."