Former U.S. senator and 2012 presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, announced Saturday on Fox News Channel's "The Huckabee Show" that he will be taking on a new venture in the film industry—as CEO of EchoLight Studios. EchoLight was the first movie studio to fully distribute and produce faith-based pictures. Their next film, The Redemption of Henry Myers, is set to release this fall. "I often say that culture is upstream from politics," says Santorum. "And I know entertainment also can be strength and light for people who want to be uplifted and reinforced in their values." Read more here.
James Franco was slated to direct Garden of Last Days, in which he'd also star—but with two weeks till shooting was supposed to begin, Franco walked away from the project. The film is an adaptation of a novel by Andre Dubus III (who also wrote House of Sand and Fog). Reportedly, there was a disagreement regarding the crew Franco wanted to bring on the project, which he has been committed to since April. This isn't the first last minute directorial drop that Hollywood's seen of late, the most notable being Lynn Ramsay's exit from Jane Got a Gun. Jane, however, is back on her feet with director Gavin O'Connor. The fate of Last Days is still uncertain. Read more about the film here.
In case you didn't get enough of the Roaring Twenties from Gatsby, Fox Searchlight is working on The Other Typist, and Kiera Knightley has been cast to star. (I mean, who else, for a period film?) Based on the novel by Suzanne Rindell, the film is set in 1920's New York where the traditional Rose (Knightley), a typist for the NYC Police Department, becomes friends with the new girl in the office, Odalie, who introduces her to speakeasies and the night life of a changing city. But Rose soon finds herself dangerously obsessed. The film has no director attached yet. Read more here.
Casting news: Ryan Reynolds is joining Mississippi Grind alongside Ben Mendeisohn (The Place Beyond the Pines). Written and helmed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the film follows a debtor who falls in with a gambler in an attempt to pay his dues. Warner Bros. has officially acquired the rights to Mean Business on North Ganson Street, which will feature Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Fox. And an adaptation of the book American Desperado: My Life—from Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset is in the works (hopefully they'll shorten the title) starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights). Read more casting news here.