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David Gordon Green has spent the last few years making silly comedies like Pineapple Express, Your Highness and The Sitter (not to mention episodes of the HBO series Eastbound & Down), but now the George Washington filmmaker is heading back into more serious material. He's currently in the midst of developing a remake of Dario Argento's Suspiria and now he's found a star for his gritty, southern drama Joe.

A press release has been sent out announcing that Nicolas Cage has signed on as the star in in Gordon Green's upcoming movie. The film, which is based on the novel by Larry Brown and written by Gary Hawkins, is about an ex-con who creates an unlikely friendship with a 15-year-old by named Gary Jones. Gary is the oldest child of a homeless family with a drunken father, and sees Joe as a positive, if not unlikely, role model. The two of them then set out to try and find redemption and a better life elsewhere in Mississippi.

In a statement about the Cage casting, Gordon Green said, "When Larry Brown wrote the novel Joe, he instantly created an iconic character of contemporary Southern literature. It is with great excitement that I've been able to work with Nicolas Cage to design an absolute and unexpected performance piece that is woven from the darkness, beauty, humor and environment of this material." Jody Hill and Danny McBride will be executive producing under their Rough House Pictures banner, which they co-own with Gordon Green. Production is currently being planned to start this November in Texas.