'Star Wars: Episode VII,' 'Batman-Superman' and 3 Other Hot Movies Looking for Stars

Star Wars Episode IV - H 2013
Courtesy Everett Collection

Star Wars Episode IV - H 2013

"Fifty Shades"? So last month, as studios use the final weeks of the year to find fresh faces for tentpoles in 2015 and beyond, while agents hope to land their clients the next big hits.

This story first appeared in the Dec 6. issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

No. 1: Star Wars: Episode VII

Director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy are casting the net far and wide, meeting actors in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. The duo is looking in particular for a tough-cookie girl in the 17- to 18-year-old range and a charismatic, funny guy from 19 to 23. "We don't want to leave any stone unturned," U.K. casting agent Kate Bone told the BBC. With the movie now being rewritten by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, sources say producers also are looking to fill a new role: a 40-something military man a la Matt Damon in Elysium.

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No. 2: Ant-Man

While many actors want in on a Marvel Studios project because of the surefire exposure, this one has added cachet since it will be directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz). Sources say Paul Rudd is the frontrunner to play Henry Pym, the scientist who can change his size. Now there is a push to find Pym's 30-ish girlfriend.

No. 3: Terminator 5

Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Brie Larson (The Spectacular Now) and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) all have tested for the coveted role of Sarah Connor, the woman who gives birth to a future rebel leader and must be protected from killer robots. The other major roles to be filled are leader John Connor (Tom Hardy is the prototype) and Kyle Reese, the man who will become his father. But sources say Paramount, director Alan Taylor and star Arnold Schwarzenegger want to select the girl before casting the guys.

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No. 4: Batman-Superman

Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder recently wrapped testing actresses Olga Kurylenko (Oblivion), Elodie Yung (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious 6) for an unnamed role opposite Henry Cavill's Superman and Ben Affleck's Batman. Some have speculated that because the part calls for strength and training throughout the shoot, the character could be Wonder Woman.

No. 5: Train Wreck

Judd Apatow is casting his latest directorial effort. Comedian Amy Schumer stars as a basket case who tries to rebuild her life, but still to be found are her boyfriend, a best friend/co-worker and a parent. Apatow movies are considered big gets, and sources say he met with actors in Los Angeles throughout November. Schumer and producer Barry Mendel will take additional meetings in New York during Thanksgiving week.