Takes role in UK spy thriller. John Cusack (‘The Butler,’ ‘The Frozen Ground,’ ‘The Paperboy’) has entered into negotiations to join the cast of Raza Mallal’s indie crime thriller ‘Kickback,’ according to Screen Daily. Marking Mallal’s directorial debut, the thriller follows “a renegade Moscow detective who defies government pressure and investigates the assassination of a maverick war reporter. However, he becomes embroiled in a web of counter espionage involving chemical warfare, an untraceable gun, an overdue library book, a disappeared daughter and the assassination of the Russian president.” Cusack joins a cast that includes Sean Astin (‘The Lord of the Rings’), Michael Biehn (‘The Victim’), Mischa Barton (‘Assassination of a High School President’), Noureen DeWulf (‘Anger Management’), John Hannah (‘The Wee Man’) and Tamer Hassan (‘The Double’). Mallal will produce the project alongside Kevan Van Thompson with Ilja Rosendahl of Scene Bridge Entertainment serving as executive producer. Production is set to kick off this winter.