Simon Baker, Paul Bettany eye indie drama


"The Mentalist" star Simon Baker and Paul Bettany are in negotiations to join the cast of "Margin Call," an indie thriller that tackles the recent financial crisis.

Written by J.C. Chandor, who also directs, the project revolves around employees of an investment bank during a tumultuous 24-hour period during the 2008 financial collapse.

Baker will portray a ruthless, high-powered securities broker who oversees the characters played by Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci and Zachary Quinto and drives his colleagues to win by any means necessary.

Bettany will play a top-tier trader, unabashedly unafraid of who he is even as the crisis deepens.

Quinto is producing with Neal Dodson and Corey Moosa, his partners at Before the Door Pictures. Also aboard to produce are Joe Jenckes and Benaroya Pictures' Michael Benaroya and Robert Ogden Barnum.

The film begins shooting next week in New York.

Baker has been nominated twice for a Golden Globe and once for an Emmy for his portrayal of private eye Patrick Jane on CBS' hit show "Mentalist". He appears in Michael Winterbottom's "The Killer Inside Me," opposite Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, which is being released by IFC Films. He is repped by CAA and Untitled.

Bettany, repped by WME, Affirmative Entertainment and Independent Talent Group, recently wrapped "The Tourist" with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. He next stars as a vampire hunter in the post-apocalyptic Screen Gems flick "Priest."