EXCLUSIVE: This year’s Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) along with Charlie Bewley (Twilight series) and Diarmaid Murtagh (Sons Of Liberty) have joined the cast of The Lake, the action-thriller from Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp. The feature, which will be directed by Steven Quale (Into The Storm), is said to be one of the most expensive undertakings for EuropaCorp to date. The film is expected to open July 15, 2016.
Bewley and Murtagh join Sullivan Stapleton (the Aussie star of 300: Rise Of An Empire) as three of the four leads in the film. Written by Richard Wenk (The Equalizer) and Besson, the story focuses on a group of Navy SEALs who attempt to solve an age-old mystery involving a treasure underneath a lake in war-torn Serbia. This marks Bewley’s first foray into an action film as he was most recently in the Sundance fav Like Crazy playing Felicity Jones’ love interest.
Simmons has a smaller role as the rear admiral and leathery boss to the SEALs who doesn’t exactly approve of what his team is doing but supports them nevertheless. He is one of those actors who is steadily working. His upcoming credits include Terminator: Genisys; The Accountant with Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow; The Meddler with Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne; and Kong: Skull Island with Michael Keaton.
Bewley is playing the soulful Stanton, who has a love interest (yet to be cast) and daydreams about what life would be like outside of the military. Murtagh is Duffy, the more introspective SEAL who is a bit more mysterious. Murtagh, who had a supporting role in History’s miniseries Sons Of Liberty, was the co-lead in Dracula Untold for Universal. His other credits include Good People (opposite James Franco) and George Clooney’s The Monuments Men.
The roles for The Lake require heavy underwater work and scuba training. Quale is adept at filming underwater, having worked with James Cameron on Titanic and The Abyss and also co-directing Aliens Of The Deep. The project, which goes before cameras next month, is being produced by Besson, Christophe Lambert and Lisa Elzey.
EuropaCorp is coming off the box office successes Taken 3 (which has grossed more than $311M worldwide) and Lucy ($458M worldwide). Those were distributed by other studios. The Lake is part of EuropaCorp’s first homegrown slate that includes the Barry Sonnenfeld-helmed Nine Lives, starring Kevin Spacey; franchise reboot The Transporter Refueled, which bows June 19; and the Naomi Watts starrer Shut In for director Farren Blackburn, which opens February 19.
Simmons is repped by Gersh. Bewley, who also starred in Hammer Of The Gods for Blackburn, is repped by Luber Roklin, ICM and Jackoway Tyerman. Murtagh, who soon will be seen in The Dovekeepers, is repped by Troika in London and Luber Roklin.