EXCLUSIVE: Following his portrayal of DJ Yella in the hit N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, Neil Brown Jr. has joined the cast of the war drama Sand Castle. Written by Chris Roessner and based on his experiences as a machine gunner in Iraq’s Sunni triangle, the film follows soldier Matt Ocre (Nicholas Hoult), part of a mission to repair broken water systems in a dangerous and unstable Iraqi village. With the local villagers resisting the presence of American soldiers, the unit must convince them that they’re here to help, not cause more problems, in order to save the town and get out alive. Brown will play the role of Enzo. The film also stars Henry Cavill and Logan Marshall-Green.
It’s being produced by Mark Gordon of the Mark Gordon Company, Justin Nappi through his Treehouse Pictures and Ben Pugh of 42. Treehouse is financing the film, which has been shepherded from inception by Gordon. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones is executive producing. U.S. rights are held by the film’s producers, with international sales handled by Voltage Pictures, who will present the film to Buyers at AFM. Filming is set to begin next week. In addition to Compton, Brown’s credits include Fast And Furious and Battle: Los Angeles, and he soon will be seen in Bayou Tales. He’s repped by Pantheon and David Dean Management.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 has added a new member to the team of galactic heroes, casting French actress Pom Klementieff, best known in the U.S. for her role in Spike Lee’s remake of Oldboy. Klementieff’s role is being kept under wraps for now, but we’re told she’ll be playing the superhero Mantis. Introduced on the pages of Avengers #112 in 1973 and created by Steve Englehart and Don Heck, Mantis is the half-Vietnamese, half-German daughter of the antihero Libra, and a martial arts expert with psychic abilities and ties to the alien Kree race. Since 2007 the character has appeared as an uneasy member of the Guardians as a kind of ship’s counselor and has played a key role in recent storylines involving the team, most notably in the Secret Invasion crossover. The character is also tied closely to Thanos, played by Josh Brolin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel conducted a wide search for an actress of Asian descent, leading to much speculation that Mantis would appear in Guardians 2. Stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel are returning along with writer-director James Gunn. Klementieff is repped by Untitled Entertainment.