Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Jon Hamm and More: Casting News

This week's biggest casting news from the world of movies and television

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Alberto E. Rodriguez / WireImage / Getty Images

Natalie Portman arrives at the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Feb. 24, 2013, in West Hollywood, Calif.

Hollywood’s casting directors have had a busy week—and it’s only Wednesday!

Here are some of exciting recent casting tidbits from the world of movies and television:

  • Colin Firth and Emma Stone have been cast as the stars of the next Wood Allen movie, which will begin filming in France this summer. (via Associated Press)
  • Natalie Portman and Michael Fassbender have been cast as Lady MacBeth and her ill-fated hubby in an upcoming film version of Shakespeare’s Scottish play. The movie shoots later this year, produced by the team that brought us The King’s Speech and Shame, and will reportedly include lots of fighting scenes. (via Screen Daily)
  • The cast of Downton Abbey has a lot going for it, but until now diversity has not been one of those things. This morning, news broke that the British drama—which has now gotten from 1912 to the early 1920s—has cast its first black character, a jazz singer who will be played by Gary Carr. The actor, 26, may be known to British TV audiences from his work on Death in Paradise. (via the Telegraph)
  • Speaking of Downtonthe actress Lily James—known to DA fans as the rambunctious cousin Rose—has been cast as Cinderella in the upcoming live-action Disney movie of the classic fairy tale. The movie will be directed by Kenneth Branagh and also star Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother. (via The Hollywood Reporter)
  • Despicable Don? Mad Men star Jon Hamm will voice the lead role in the next Despicable Me movie, Minions. The movie’s slated for release in December of 2014. (via Deadline)
  • Jamie Foxx is in talks to sign on for the starring grown-up role in the Quvenzhané Wallis adaptation of Annie that Will Smith and Jay-Z are producing. But with a few tweaks: instead of being called Daddy Warbucks, he would be called Benjamin Stacks. Grantland has a detailed run-down of the etymology of the name, if you don’t get it. (via The Hollywood Reporter)
  • And in the category of rumors, the big casting-news-that-might-be is that Allison Williams of Girls, who was recently cast in the Shakespeare-y Rosaline (presumably a movie about Romeo’s ex), is a pick to play the Invisible Woman in the Fantastic Four movie that’s in the works. (via Screencrush)

What do you think of these casting choices? Perfect fits or bad decisions?