According to Variety, Jason Bateman has been cast alongside Natalie Portman and Dustin Hoffman in writer-director Zach Helm's Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium for Mandate Pictures and FilmColony.

The fantasy pic, set to begin shooting next month, revolves around a toy store owner who tries to lift the spirits of his depressed store manager by bequeathing her the shop. Bateman will play a precocious accountant hired to ascertain the establishment's worth.

Joe Drake's Mandate Pictures, which formed a year ago when Senator Intl. completed a management buyout from German indie giant Senator Entertainment, is fully financing Magorium.

The feature role is the first Bateman has landed since Fox announced it would not renew the critically acclaimed but ratings-starved Arrested Development.

Bateman will next be seen on the bigscreen in Jennifer Aniston-Vince Vaughn starrer The Break Up. He'll also appear in "Smokin' Aces," starring Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia and Ryan Reynolds.

Brian B.