AFM : New Films For Kurt Russell, Elijah Wood, John Cusack, Olivia Wilde, Gerard Butler, Gary Daniels & More

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AFM gets underway officially tomorrow – and no doubt you’ll hear much, much more then – but today, a slab of pre-film market announcements namely due to do with who is doing what with whom.

Elijah Wood’s production company The Woolshed has announced “Cooties”, a new horror film co-written by Leigh Whannel and Ian Brennan, that’s being unveiled at AFM this week. Wood (“The Hobbit”) will star in the movie, which sounds like a cross between “The Faculty” and “Cabin Fever”, fixing on “a mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school, transforming the kids into a feral swarm of mass savages. An unlikely hero must led a motley band of teachers in the fight of their lives.” (THR)

Synchronicity Entertainment, also handling “Cooties” (above), is shopping a new John Cusack-starring thriller called “Due Process” at AFM this week too. The Paul Currie directed film is described as “a harrowing story of two big city bankers who head to a farm to foreclose it, but get more than they bargained for when the farmer (Cusack) is not willing to hand it over.” Zero Gravity Management’s Mark Holder, serving as one of the producers, said : “What’s interesting about Due Process is that it meshes the socially relevant reality of a personal financial housing crisis with gut-wrenching twists and turns of a taut thriller.” Production begins in January. (THR)

Kurt Russell, Peter Sarsgaard, Richard Jenkins and Jennifer Carpenter will star in “Bone Tomahwak”, Novelist S Craig Zahler’s feature directorial debut about “a sheriff, a gunslinger, an old man and a cowboy who saddle up to rescue a group of captives from a tribe of cannibalistic cave dwellers.” Wildside have already picked up the French rights to the picture before AFM officially begins tomorrow.

Olivia Wilde (“Tron Legacy”), Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) and Nicole Behaire (“Shame”) will star in “The Keeping Room”, directed by Daniel Barber. The film, written by Julia Hart, “tells the story of three Southern women — two sisters and a slave — who are forced to defend their home from the onslaught of a band of soldiers who have broken off from the Union Army.” (THR)

Gary Daniels (“The Expendables”), Andrew Lawrence (“Sniper 3″) and Christopher Showerman (“Radio America”) will star in “Blackwater”, an action-thriller about a government-subsidized mercenary who decides to change the game. Blackwater Worldwide, of course, was a private security company whose work in Iraq was plagued by trouble. B.J Davis produces and directs, with John Schofield (“Doom”) serving as one of the film’s producers. (Screen Daily)

Isla Fisher (“The Bachelorette”) is set for Arclight’s “Reclaim”, a thriller about “a couple who go to Australia to adopt a little girl from Afghanistan. They wind up getting taken advantage of by criminals and soon find themselves in terrible danger.” The producers are after Joel Edgerton to play the male lead. (Calgary Herald)

Not so much AFM news, but it fits…Former “Weeds star Romany Malco will join “Last Vegas”, the Michael Douglas-Robert De Niro- Morgan Freeman- Kevin Kline comedy set in Vegas. Malco will play the concierge at the hotel where the main characters will be staying. (Deadline)

Gerard Butler (“300″) will star in “Dynamo”, “based on the landmark soccer game that took place between an occupied Ukrainian soccer team and their Nazi captors during World War II. Butler will star as Nikolai Trusevich, the all-star goalie who served as a cornerstone and leader for his team, and ultimately inspired the entire battered city of Kiev, Ukraine. To stem a rising tide of resistance and establish Aryan superiority, the Nazi’s set up a match pitting the starving Ukrainians against a ‘super team’ of German players that to this day is still known as “The Death Match”. Dynamo will shoot in Europe in 2013.” Eli Richbourg writes; no direct set yet. (Deadline)