BRENDON'S UPDATE: Not sure how Craig missed it, but Hough was cast back in 2011, and I reported it then. The following is Craig's original story…
Diablo Cody's scripts for Juno and Young Adult were extraordinarily good, especially the latter, and led to two excellent films. Her work on Jennifer's Body and her reported tweaks to the recent Evil Dead remake did not lead to such high quality finished films but for her next she will have much more control of the finished product.
Paradise will mark Cody's directorial debut and USA Today are now reporting that she has found her leading lady in Julianne Hough.
Hough will play Lamb, a girl growing up in Montana with overprotective parents, played by Nick Offerman and Holly Hunter. Her life revolves around her church and she's not able to listen to secular music or even to dance – echoes of Footloose for Hough – but she decides to go to Las Vegas and work her way through a list of previously denied sins in just one evening. These sins aren't exactly shocking though and even include such activities as cutting here hair.
USA Today spoke to Cody about the film and she made it clear that she was earnest about the subject matter.
If you have ever been through something incredibly difficult such as this kind of injury, you know it's hard to stay positive and not surrender to cynicism completely… I wanted to make a non-cynical movie that would inspire positivity.
The premise is certainly interesting and this is a subject that I'm sure is very close to Cody's heart, presumably the reason why she was so motivated to get behind the camera for that added level of control. Hough is probably best known for her roles in Footloose and Rock of Ages, neither of which were particularly good films but maybe she will be able to find something to get her teeth into here.
Paradise will open in American cinemas on the 18th of October.