Peter Jackson’s been laying low as he’s prepared for his grand return to the director’s chair. Three years have passed since his final dalliance with the Hobbit series of films, and he’s been slowly building steam over the past few months for his next epic undertaking, Mortal Engines, an adaptation of the young adult novel series from Philip Reeve. It sounds like a typically ambitious project for Jackson, recreating the books’ colossal engine-powered mobile cities, but he’s raring and ready to go. And today brings him one step closer to an actual start of production as he ramps up his casting with three new additions — a “hey, that guy!” character actor, a musical sensation, and an unknown.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Stephen Lang, Jihae, and Leila George have all joined previously announced star Robert Sheehan in the cast of this new franchise-in-the-making. Lang recently appeared in Don’t Breathe as an older man who wouldn’t let a little thing like blindness stop him from pursuing an illustrious career as a psychotic killer, but his star first rose as the scarred antagonist of James Cameron’s Avatar. (Suffice it to say Lang’s got plenty of experience around green screens.) Jihae has yet to make much of a splash in the world of film, having only appeared in National Geographic’s Mars series, but the South Korean-born singer has made herself a mainstay in the music world over the past decade. As for George, she’s an almost complete newcomer, having appeared only in James Franco’s inexplicable remake of the Lifetime Original Movie Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? 

It’s an eclectic collection, to be sure. Going with slightly lesser-known actors rather than A-list names could work in Jackson’s favor, too; as a viewer, it’s easier to immerse yourself in a distant universe when you don’t recognize your good pals Jennifer Lawrence or George Clooney pretending to be in space. Early signs are positive, but the projected December 2018 release is still a long way off. Surely Jackson will be in the news again soon.

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