Casting: Oz, Waco, Crowne, Numbers, Cowboys

Production Weekly has been burning the midnight oil with all sorts of casting updates over twitter in the past few days. Amongst the news revealed:

– Billy Crudup and Toby Jones have joined the cast of Bruce Beresford’s Ada Lovelace biopic “Enchantress of Numbers”.

– Sam Mendes is the front runner to direct and Robert Downey, Jr. is circling to play ‘The Wizard’ in the Mitchell Kapner-scripted “Oz The Great And Powerful”, Disney’s planned prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” which Joe Roth will produce.

– Kurt Russell, Adrien Brody and Sharon Stone are attached to a film about the Davidian religious cult’s 51-day siege in Waco, Texas. Rupert Wainwright (“Stigmata,” “The Fog”) will direct from a script he co-wrote with James Hibberd.

– Pam Grier is set to play Julia Roberts’s best friend in Tom Hanks’s “Larry Crowne” currently filming.

– Ethan Hawke is in talks to star in low-budget action thriller “The Numbers Station” by Scott Frazier.

– Eva Longoria Parker has joined the cast of “Empire” filmmaker Franc. Reyes’ Exorcist-esque horror feature “Tenement” which begins shooting in New York next month.

– Frances McDormand and Sean Penn will star in Paolo Sorrentino’s English language directorial debut “This Must be the Place”. Filming kicks off in August.

– Blake Lively, Jim Sturgess and Hugh Dancy are attached to Gren Wells’ romantic comedy “Cover Girl” which Donald Petrie is planning to direct

Meanwhile Variety has added a quick update saying Noah Ringer (“The Last Airbender”) has joined the cast of Jon Favreau’s sci-fi western “Cowboys and Aliens”.