By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist October 19, 2010 at 1:26AM
We've been big fans of Australian actress Abbie Cornish ever since her stunning performance in the drama "Somersault" (alongside Sam Worthington, who's also surprisingly good in the film). She's worked solidly ever since, cropping up in the likes of "Candy," "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and "Stop-Loss," but it was last year's lead role as Fanny Brawne in the excellent "Bright Star," which was shamefully overlooked for awards recognition, that really took her career up a gear.
Next year will see Cornish crop up in the Madonna-helmed "W.E," alongside Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro in psychological thriller "The Dark Fields" and as one of the scantily-clad ass-kickers in Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch," and she was reported to be in the running for sought-after roles in tentpole pictures like Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" and Ridley Scott's "Alien" prequel. With both of those films looking to be taken (by Sandra Bullock and Natalie Portman, if rumors are to be believed), Cornish has wasted no time in moving on to a new gig.
Screen Daily report that Cornish has signed on to the drama "The Girl," which is set to be directed by David Riker ("La Ciudad"). The actress will play a young Texan mother who starts smuggling immigrants across the border from Mexico. When things go wrong, she has to travel across Mexico with the titular eight year old orphan. The film's currently in pre-production, and co-producers Goldcrest will be shopping it around at the American Film Market in November.
Emily Blunt had been attached to the project since as far back as the beginning of 2008, but, with the actress trying to find room for "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen," an untitled Lynn Shelton comedy with Rachel Weisz, and Rian Johnson's "Looper" before the end of the year, we imagine scheduling conflicts put paid to that. In fact, while we love Blunt, Cornish seems like a stronger choice for a role as a working class Texan mom, as little as we know about the project.
We're not familiar with Riker's earlier work, but we imagine with actors as talented as Blunt and Cornish vying for the lead role, and with Journeyman Pictures ("Maria Full of Grace," "Half Nelson") among the film's producers, this could be a strong indie, and might see Cornish pick up the awards love she's so far missed out on.