Ty Simpkins (Jurassic World) is set for a lead role in the indie drama Life Briefly opposite Bill Paxton and Ashley Judd. He will play Brian Knapp, a high school kid who is blind from an early age whose parents (Paxton and Judd) have given their all to ensure he lives a normal life. They know their son is incredibly strong and talented, so they push him to succeed. Dad notices Brian’s natural musical ability and will do everything he can to make Brian’s dreams come true, but he damages his marriage in the process. The film will shoot in January in Atlanta. Simpkins, whose credits also include Meadowland, Iron Man 3 and the first two Insidious films, is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham.

Josh Hartnett (Wild Horses) had landed a lead role in Gut Instinct, a police thriller from writer-director Daniel Roby. Based on a true story from 1989, the film follows three interconnected stories: a former heroin junkie who gets trapped by a criminal organization to set up a drug deal in Thailand, an undercover cop who’s humiliated and decides take a shortcut to enhance the performance of his team and an investigative reporter (Hartnett) who’s forced to re-evaluate his core convictions and maverick methods after the birth of his first child. Hartnett co-stars on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, and his film credits range from Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down to Parts Per Billion and James Franco’s upcoming The Long Home. He’s repped by UTA and Management 360.