Robert Knepper, Armin Amiri to Star in ‘1st Born’

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In today’s film news roundup, Robert Knepper and Armin Amiri join “1st Born,” Cynthia Erivo will star in “Bad Times at the El Royale,” SXSW announces more speakers, and Mark Duplass’ “Creep 2” gets a release date.

CASTINGS

Robert Knepper (“Prison Break”) and Armin Amiri have joined Val Kilmer, William Baldwin, and Jay Abdo in the comedy “1st Born,” Variety has learned exclusively.

“1st Born,” a joint feature film co-production between Iran and Hollywood, is set to start filming in Los Angeles next month. It centers on a newlywed couple — Iranian-born Ben and American Kate — who are living the American dream in sunny California. When their first pregnancy has complications, it brings the whole family together.

Amiri will portray Ben and Abdo will play his father. Knepper’s character is a Iraqi War veteran who befriends Abdo’s character.

Hollywood-based LA Independent Film and Entertainment is producing “1st Born” with Sam Khoze leading the team, which includes producer Edwin Avaness and associate producer Pourya Naserbakht.

Knepper has had a recurring role in “Twin Peaks,” and is repped by Innovative Artists and LINK Entertainment. Amiri is repped by Ellis Talent Group in Los Angeles, Camilla Storey Management in London, and Headline Talent Agency in New York.

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Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo has joined Fox’s thriller “Bad Times at the El Royale,” playing a singer who’s down on her luck.

Jeff Bridges and Chris Hemsworth are in talks to star in “Bad Times,” with Drew Goddard producing and directing from his own script. The story is set at a run-down hotel near California’s Lake Tahoe in the 1960s.

Erivo won the Tony Award for best actress in a musical for the 2015 revival of “The Color Purple” and nabbed a Grammy for best musical theater album. She’s starring in Steve McQueen’s heist film “Widows” and will play…

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