By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 19, 2010 at 3:14AM
Even though Natalie Portman is topping the studio wishlist for Ridley Scott's forthcoming "Alien" prequel, 20th Century Fox know that you don't always get what you want and some new names are surfacing to the lead role in the big budget pic.
Anne Hathaway and James Franco have joined the list of Alien contenders for what we presume is the lead role. We're not too surprised to see Hathaway's name on there and she joins a legion of names mentioned for the part. However, Franco's name is intriguing and may indicate that the studio and Scott might be willing to go with a male lead if a bankable female lead actress can't be found. As the troubles with Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" teach (a project that Portman also turned down), studios are hesitant to greenlight expensive sci-fi projects unless they have a star to hang the marketing on. And with Franco a lock for a Best Actor nomination thanks to his turn in Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" and with a lead role in another mega-franchise "Rise Of The Apes" due to hit theaters next year, Fox may see a future for the actor as their blockbuster star.
But as always, schedules and interest will need to coordinate before any of this can happen. Other names linked to the leading role include "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" breakout star Noomi Rapace, Carey Mulligan and Abbie Cornish. One or none may end up getting the part, but obviously, Fox and Scott are going big or going home.