Charlize Theron Explores the Interconnectedness of Fate or Whatever

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Theron on Arriaga's First: Charlize Theron signs on to The Burning Plain, directorial debut of Babel screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga. She'll play one character among many in an interlocking drama of love, death, and fate, natch. [Variety]

Penn, Pop Voice Persepolis: Sean Penn and Iggy Pop will voice characters in the English-language version of Marjane Satrapi's animated memoir Persepolis. Penn will play Satrapi's father, and Pop will play an androgynous, dangerously sexy, low-rise-wearing uncle. [Variety]

Susie Salmon Cast: Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones gains its Susie Salmon, as Irish teenager Saoirse Ronan gets the role as the murdered heroine. Soon to be seen in Atonement and I Could Never Be Your Woman, Ronan is particularly notable for how much she is not Dakota Fanning. Big ups, Peter Jackson! [HR]

McPheever Hits Studio: American Idol runner-up Katherine McPhee signs on to first studio picture, untitled Anna Faris comedy for Columbia Pictures. McPhee will play a pregnant hippie in the movie, about a misfit sorority. [HR]

Clooney, Singleton at Showtime: George Clooney and John Singleton sign deals to develop series for Showtime. Clooney's is a drama about a family of televangelists called Doubting Thomas; Singleton's is Trade, about the lives and times of high-class call girls. We'll praise Showtime for green-lighting an intelligent look at religion even as we only watch Trade. [Variety]