By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com October 28, 2011 at 1:37AM
'Homeland' Lead Damian Lewis & Steven Mackintosh Also In Cast
"Captain America: The First Avenger" was a funny one, wasn't it? The first half was the best superhero of the year, the second, a plotless, uneven mess. But it had many pleasures, and first among them was Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter. Given an unusually well-drawn female character for a comic book movie to get her teeth into, the British actress, a relative unknown in the U.S. who took the role after it was turned down by the likes of Keira Knightley and Emily Blunt, knocked it out of the park, proving feisty, kick-ass, and vulnerable, often within the same scene, showing wider audiences what many have known since her debut in BBC drama "The Line of Beauty" -- she's going to be a massive star.
Sadly, the nature of the film means, short of a "Peggy Carter: Nazi Smasher" spin-off, we're unlikely to see her in the role again, but it's undoubtedly given her a big boost -- Tom Cruise is clearly a fan, with Atwell finding her way onto the shortlist for both "One Shot" and, more recently, "Oblivion." If Hollywood is smart, they'll give the actress her own vehicle before too long (if they insist on rebooting the "Tomb Raider" franchise, surely Atwell is the only choice for Lara Croft?), but in the meantime, she's heading back to the U.K., as Baz Bamigboye reports that the actress is signed on to the long-gestating big-screen remake of '70s British cop series "The Sweeney."
The film already has Ray Winstone and rapper-turned-actor Plan B, known to his mum as Ben Drew, who took over from Michael Fassbender who was attached to a previous incarnation of the project, in the lead roles of Jack Regan and George Carter (originated by John Thaw and Dennis Waterman), two hard-living, womanizing cops in the elite Flying Squad. Atwell will play another detective, and is one of a number of additions to the cast of the the project, which starts filming next week. Also on board are "Band of Brothers" and "Homeland" star Damian Lewis (as, we suspect, the villain), veteran character actor Steven Mackintosh ("Luther," "The Escapist") and Paul Anderson (not that one...or the other one), who plays Moriarty's sidekick Moran in the upcoming "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows."
We've got mixed feelings about this one; a high-octane London-set cop film could be fun, and names like Winstone, Atwell and Lewis are promising, particularly with a script by "Trainspotting" scribe John Hodge. But at the same time, it's going to be directed by Nick Love, who's squandered the early promise of debut "Goodbye Charlie Bright" to make a series of crass, thuggish pictures about gangster and football hooligans, films like "The Business," "The Firm" and the particularly execrable "Outlaw." Hopefully the addition of Atwell,who surely has her pick of projects these days, bodes well.