Rock the Kasbah: Bill Murray’s Richie Vance talent scout’s for Afghan version of American Idol

3:10 PM EST 1/8/2015 by Kara Michelle, Celebeat Reporter

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Open Road Film's Rock the Kasbah would be released on April 24 to US theaters. Directed by Barry Levinson and written by Mitch Glazer, the comedy film stars Bill Murray as Richie Vance, a burned-out music manager who embarks with his only client on a USO tour of Afghanistan. There, he finds himself abandoned, stranded, penniless and without his passport. Soon however, he discovers a young Afghan girl with an amazing voice who stows away with him back to Kabul. He coaches her through an audition for the local version of the television show American Idol, called The Afghan Star. However, says the official synopsis, when jealousy gets the better of a disgruntled ex-boyfriend, he decides to oppose the young star with talent of his own.

Murray is joined in the Rock the Kasbah cast by Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Danny McBride, Beejan Land, Leem Lubany, Taylor Kinney, Arian Moayed, and Scott Caan. Palestinian actress Leem Lubany will play the role of Salima, the young Afghan singer, and she will be seen performing four songs by Yusuf Islam (formerly known as the 1970s pop star Cat Stevens). Shia LaBeouf was originally in the cast but dropped out at the last minute and had to be replaced by Scott Caan. Filming and production began on June 2 and promptly ended on July 30. QED International's Bill Block, Venture Forth's Jacob Pechenik, Shangri-La Entertainment's Steve Bing and Mitch Glazer produced, with Brian Grazer and Tom Freston acting as executive producers.

Murray also helped in the film's marketing and distribution. At a Berlin reception, before a crowd of international distributors, he was asked to talk about some of his co-stars. According to Variety, he said: "Bruce Willis is fun. He's a very generous guy, he shows up with bottles of wine. Zooey Deschanel, she's a big TV star now, but I knew her when she was just a nice person. Danny McBride is a big human being, he has a big soul. Shia LaBeouf I don't know, but he's got a funny name. But he's dealing with that, that's his problem."

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