All the King's Men: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sean Penn is being sought for the role of Willie Stark, the populist politician whose rise and fall is at the center of the tale. And though negotiations have not yet begun, the latest names to enter the mix are those of Brad Pitt and Jude Law.

Although the Stark role is a juicy one -- it earned Crawford an Oscar -- the protagonist of Warren's novel is actually Jack Burden (played by Ireland in the '49 version), a journalist who falls under Stark's spell and loses his idealism in the process.

The project, with Zaillian at the helm, is aiming for a September start date, with Phoenix producing for Columbia Pictures.