Some surprising news broke late Friday night which has had Hollywood abuzz all weekend. No, not another big-budget movie cancellation or high-profile reshoots, but instead a major high-profile bit of recasting. For the past five years, Katie Holmes has been playing the role of Tom Cruise's wife, one of the most widely sought-after parts in Hollywood. Her five-year contract was up, and while a renewal was widely expected, negotiations appear to have fallen apart at the last minute, with Holmes, like previous incumbents Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman, exiting the role at the age of 33.
Whether Holmes goes on to Oscar-winning glory like Kidman, or competitive poker-playing like Rogers, remains to be seen, but a more immediate effect is that a casting hunt will get under way the likes of which hasn't been since the search for Lisbeth Salander and Katniss Everdeen. Like the female equivalent of James Bond or Doctor Who, each actress has had different spins on the role -- from Kidman's statuesque ice queen to Holmes' faintly-brainwashed pod person -- but the requirements remain the same : a love of extreme sports and Xenu, and a propensity for standing at premieres and waving.
Rumors in the comments section of Deadine Hollywood are that top agencies, including WME and CAA, have already received faxed casting breakdowns for the part, with those in contention for the role (screen tests are likely to take place in Iceland, where Cruise is shooting "Oblivion") are expected to sign non-disclosure agreements, before a two-year "girlfriend" trial period, known as the Penelope Cruz Clause. Names of who might be in the running are top secret, but as we've done for many other high-profile parts in the past, we thought we'd run down five possible candidates who we think might have the right stuff for one of the most demanding, yet rewarding, roles available right now.
Why She Could Do It: Marling is already clearly on Cruise's radar, having been courted for roles in both "Jack Reacher" and "Oblivion," and while she ultimately turned both down, could the third time be the charm? Having played the otherworldly leader of a manipulative, secretive sci-fi-tinged cult in "Sound Of My Voice," we can totally see why the actor might think they had something in common.
Why She Might Not: At 28, Marling only has a few years before what's known as "The Awakening" -- when previous actresses in the role have become aware of their situation, and run for the hills.
Why She Could Do It: Along with Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone is a media darling, one of the most talked about starlets of the moment, and it would be a good way for Cruise to not skip a beat and get back on the horse. Also, like Holmes, Stone played the female lead in a superhero movie, and would be able to prove her love for Cruise by letting herself be replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal for the sequel. Plus her boyfriend Andrew Garfield, is one of the few actors that Cruise could beat in a fight if it came to it.
Why She Might Not: At 5'6", Stone is actually an inch smaller than Cruise, which could mean that the guy who carries around the box Cruise stands on for photo opportunities might be out of a job. Also, she's quite feisty, which might mean additional levels of re-programming would be required.