EXCLUSIVE: As Kite racks up international sales at AFM, Samuel L. Jackson’s co-star has taken on a new keyboard centric role with a new on-screen partner. From playing Oburi in the live action adaptation of the Japanese anime by Yasuomi Umetsu, Callan McAuliffe will now be the lead in the Akan Satayev–directed Hacker. McAuliffe will play the role of Alex Danyliuk, an ambitious teen techhead member of the secret Internet criminal network known as DarkWeb. Lorraine Nicholson has also joined the Canadian indie drama as fellow DarkWebber Kira Whittal. Seen in 2011’s Soul Surfer, Nicholson, the daughter of a certain Jack, will also be in the upcoming thriller Room 105. Sydney-born McAuliffe, who played the teenage version of the title charater in the Baz Luhrmann-directed The Great Gatsby, will be seen next year opposite Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson in the sci-fi coming of age tale Our Robot Overloards. Satayev, who helmed Kazakhstan’s Foreign Language Film Oscar entries Strayed and Myn Bala, wrote the story for Hacker with Timur Zhaxylykov. Sanzhar Sultanov penned the script. Sultanov’s Knows Rules Media will produce. 

Brillstein Entertainment Partners will executive produce the $5 million budgeted pic, which is scheduled to start shooting at the end of November in Toronto. Hackers will also film in NYC, Dubai and Thailand. Nicholson is repped by Resolution, Radius Entertainment and lawyers Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller. McAuliffe is repped by CAA, RGM Artists in Australia, and the law firm of Felker, Toczek, Gellman and Suddelson