The Ghost undergoes cast changes as it heads into production.

Last July, I mentioned that Nicholas Cage, Pierce Brosnan and Tilda Swinton were starring in Roman Polanski’s film version of Robert Harris’ The Ghost.

The cast has changed a bit since then.

Nicholas Cage and Miss Swinton is no longer involved, with Ewan McGregor and Olivia Williams taking their places.

In my opinion, losing Cage is no big deal, as it has been ages since he really shined, but I am very sad to see that Swinton is no longer attached. I am sure Olivia Williams will do a fine job, but I was already imagining Miz Swinton in the role and was quite giddy.

A ghostwriter (Evan McGregor) is hired to finish the memoirs of an ex-British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan). The ghostwriter’s research leads him to uncover skeletons in the pol’s closet that put the writer’s life in danger. Things are complicated further when the PM’s wife (Oliva Williams) falls for the writer.

Here is the Press Release that made known these changes:

OSCAR®-WINNING FILMMAKER ROMAN POLANSKI’S UPCOMING POLITICAL THRILLER THE GHOST TO STAR EWAN MCGREGOR, PIERCE BROSNAN, KIM CATTRALL, TOM WILKINSON, JIM BELUSHI AND OLIVIA WILLIAMS.

Project to Begin Production in
Germany February 2009

PARIS, January 21, 2009 — Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski is to direct his first contemporary thriller in more than twenty years. His new project, THE GHOST, will begin shooting in Berlin in two weeks’ time, on February 4th. The movie tells the story of a former British Prime Minister, Adam Lang, (played by Pierce Brosnan) who is holed up on an island off the Eastern seaboard of the USA in midwinter, writing his memoirs. When his long-standing aide drowns, a professional ghostwriter (played by Ewan McGregor) is sent out to help him finish the book. The anonymous ghostwriter is quickly drawn into a political and sexual intrigue involving Lang’s wife, Ruth (played by Olivia Williams) and his aide (played by Kim Cattrall). Hanging over Lang is the threat of a war crimes trial and a mysterious secret from his past that threatens to jeopardize international relations. Jim Belushi, Robert Pugh and recent Golden Globe® Tom Wilkinson have also joined the cast.

THE GHOST is based onthe novel by the same name written by best-selling author Robert Harris. It won the International Thriller Writers’ Award for best novel of 2008. Harris joined Polanski in adapting the book for the big screen.

Polanski will produce the film along with Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde.

Summit International, which has a long-standing relationship with Polanski and the producers, is representing the worldwide rights to the film for RP Productions and has already pre-sold a number of major territories around the globe including: Pathé in France; Kinowelt in Germany; Optimum in the UK; Rai Cinema, S.P.A. in Italy; Acme UAB in the Baltic States; Dutch Filmworks in Benelux; SPI International in Eastern Europe; Odeon S.A. in Greece; Sam Film in Iceland; United King in Israel; Sun Distribution Group S.A. in Latin America; Jaguar Films in the Middle East; Lusomundo in Portugal; AB Svensk in Scandinavia; and WPM Film in Thailand. A U.S. distributor has yet to be announced. ICM is representing North American rights.

“There are great roles at the heart of the movie and we got great actors to play them. I couldn’t be happier,” said Roman Polanski.

Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde stated, “After THE PIANIST and OLIVER TWIST, it’s a thrill to make a thriller with Polanski.”

Summit International’s CEO Patrick Wachsberger said, “We are so thrilled to be working again with Roman Polanski in a genre that he mastered over the years with KNIFE IN THE WATER, CUL-DE-SAC and FRANTIC.”

Ewan McGregor will next be seen in ANGELS & DEMONS and is well known for his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in STAR WARS EPISODE I, II, and III as well as his starring roles in TRAINSPOTTING, BIG FISH and MOULIN ROUGE! for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor.

Pierce Brosnan most recently starred in MAMMA MIA! and the upcoming THE GREATEST, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this January. The respected actor has brought many great roles to the screen including his Golden Globe nominated performance in THE MATADOR.

Kim Cattrall is best known for her role as Samantha Jones in both the recent theatrical blockbuster success SEX AND THE CITY and the HBO Series of the same name.

Olivia Williams played opposite Bruce Willis in THE SIXTH SENSE and her other credits include PETER PAN and EMMA.

Jim Belushi’s has appeared in numerous films and is well known for his role in the
television series “According to Jim” and for his performances on Saturday Night Live.

Robert Pugh was seen in THE LAST LEGION and MASTER AND COMMANDER:
THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD.

Tom Wilkinson recently won a Golden Globe for his supporting role in the HBO mini-series JOHN ADAMS. Wilkinson also starred in VALKYRIE as well as MICHAEL CLAYTON.

Filming will take place mainly in Studio Babelsberg and as well as additional locations in Berlin.

The production is set up as a French-German-UK Coproduction between RP Films (F) 11, Babelsberg Film (Ger) and Runteam III (UK). Henning Molfenter, Carl L.
Woebcken and Christoph Fisser (Studio Babelsberg) will co-produce the film
along with Timothy Burrill (Runteam). Other production credits include Oliver
Luer as line producer, Daniel Champagnon as production supervisor, Pawel Edelman
as director of photography, Albrecht Konrad as production designer, Dinah Collin
as costume designer, Fiona Weir as casting supervisor, Ralph Remstedt as first assistant director, Sylvette Baudrot as script supervisor, Jean-Marie Blondel as sound engineer, Didier Lavergne the Oscar winner make up designer and Hervé de Luze as editor.

McGregor is represented by Endeavor. Brosnan is represented by CAA. Williams is represented by Independent Talent. Polanski, Cattrall and Belushi are represented by ICM. Pugh is represented by Emptage Gallett in the UK. Wilkinson is represented by Lou Coulson Associates.

Additional Information Roman Polanski, the Academy Award®-winning
director of THE PIANIST (2002) received his first Oscar® nomination for his 1964
film KNIFE IN THE WATER. Another Oscar nomination followed for the screenplay
adaptation of the 1968 psychological thriller ROSEMARY’S BABY. Polanski was again nominated for Best Director in 1974 for CHINATOWN and once more in 1979 for TESS. To date he has directed 17 features in addition to several productions of live theatre.

British writer Robert Harris is the author of Fatherland (1992), a New York Times bestseller which imagined that Germany won World War II, subsequently made into an HBO movie starring Rutger Hauer and Miranda Richardson. His second novel Enigma (1995) about the breaking of the German Enigma code, was turned into a film starring Kate Winslet with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard. Archangel (1998) became a BBC mini-series in 2005, starring Daniel Craig. In 2003, Harris turned his attention towards Ancient Rome with his acclaimed Pompeii. He followed this with Imperium (2006), the first of a trilogy of novels about the life of Rome’s great orator, Cicero.