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It was a big week for casting announcements with exciting news about some of 2016’s biggest releases.

It also saw Toronto Film festival come to a close, announcing The Imitation Game as the People’s Choice Award. A key measure for Oscar success, Toronto has hinted at many a big awards winner in as many years and could mean a promising streak for Morten Tyldum’s biopic, which is released by Working Title.

Casting News

Last week he joined the cast of Ted 2 as a civil rights lawyer, and now Morgan Freeman has officially been cast in Timur Bekmambetov’s Ben-Hur as mentor Ildarin. Freeman was the first actor officially linked to the project, with Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston signing on for the lead on Wednesday after rumours that Tom Hiddleston had bowed out of the running. Ben-Hur is set for release in 2016.

The Hiddleston rumours were squashed after confirmation that he has been cast in the lead role for Skull Island, a prequel to King Kong. Although Joe Cornish was strongly rumoured to be directing the project, it was confirmed that Kings of Summer director Jordan Vogt-Roberts will be taking it on via his Twitter account on Tuesday. The film is now in pre-production and will hit cinemas in 2016.

A surprise announcement came this week in the form of a fifth Bourne instalment, with Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass in talks to return to the franchise in place of Jeremy Renner and Aaron Cross. Both actor and director had gone on record stating that they would not return to the story but have since had a change of heart. While this has yet to be fully confirmed, Universal have already proposed a release date for July 2016 should they plan to go ahead.

In Trailers

The big trailer announcement of the week was the latest full-length trailer for the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. The penultimate chapter in the hugely successful franchise is steeped in rebellion and sees Katniss head underground to join District 13, while Peeta is in the grasp of President Snow. With a forlorn look at Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee and first on-screen appearances from Julianne Moore and Natalie Dormer, this is undoubtedly going to be one of the biggest films of the season.

Wednesday brought with it the first trailer for Chicken, Joe Stephenson’s directorial debut. With high praise from Stephen Frears and Sir Ian McKellen, the film’s first look follows Richard, played by newcomer Scott Chambers, who lives in a caravan with his violent brother and finds a new friend in Annabel (Submarine, The Double). Chicken‘s release date is yet to be confirmed, but advanced screenings will be playing this November and December.

In Pictures

The release of Christopher Nolan’s latest, Interstellar, is being marked as the cinematic event of the year, and a number of new posters were released in light of it hitting theatres in November. Again revealing very little of the plot details, one new image shows the film’s star Matthew McConaughey travelling through unexplored territory in the hope of finding resources for mankind, while a later poster shows the vessel that will transport McConaughey’s Cooper across the galaxy.

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