By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 11, 2011 at 3:48AM
Ed Westwick Joins 'J. Edgar'
Looks like some folks at William Morris Endeavor are going to need to be apologizing and sending Charlize Theron some flowers. Vulture reports the actress, who even Clint Eastwood believed would be joining his upcoming biopic "J. Edgar," wasn't as keen as everybody thought she was in joining the film and has backed away and set a big budget franchise in her sights.
It appears that although Ridley Scott remains keen on Noomi Rapace to lead his "Alien" prequel, Fox is rightfully hesitant on pinning the big budget project on a largely unknown face, and are now turning to Theron to lead the picture in the role of Elizabeth Shaw. It's certainly not the first tentpole she's been linked to as she's already set to star in the currently delayed "Mad Max" reboot and last year was tipped as a favorite for "Snow White And The Huntsman." If she does sign on, it will make Fox breathe a little easier about Scott's desire to cast Michael Fassbender (in the role of an android crewman) and Michelle Yeoh (as the tough but sexy Vickers) in supporting roles. Theron is certainly a bigger name than Rapace, Carey Mulligan, Abbie Cornish and Olivia Wilde who were all listed as previous contenders, and though Fox would probably go for Natalie Portman, who was also mentioned in early wishlist casting, her pregnancy rules her out completely.
Whether or not she takes the role remains to be seen, but a fresh script, with the part rewritten with Theron in mind, should be crossing the actresses' desk sometime this week. We would wager that her signing on will allow the film to get the greenlight it needs; either way Ridley Scott and his team appear to be moving steadily forward so they can begin work as soon as they get the studio go ahead, with cinematographer Dariusz Wolski recently dropping that the film would be shooting on Epic RED 3D cameras and reports surfacing that H.R. Giger was back to handle creature designs.
Oh wait, but what about Clint Eastwood? He doesn't need to worry too much about Theron not appearing in the picture. Deadline reports that Eastwood is now eyeing Naomi Watts or Amy Adams for the part of Helen Gandy, a Justice Department file clerk who ended up being Hoover’s personal secretary. Not the most glamorous role in the film, but many would pay their own way just to work on a set with Eastwood so another high profile name will likely figure on. But let's not forget about "Gossip Girl" star Ed Westwick who has been cast in the film as Agent Smith, an operative with gifted writing skills who is tasked to pen Hoover's biography but gets a little too close to the truth. He joins a very exciting cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead, titular role with Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson; Damon Herriman as Bruno Hauptmann, the man convicted of kidnapping and killing the Lindbergh baby and Judi Dench in a currently unspecified role.
"J. Edgar" will go in front of cameras next month so expect more news soon on that project and a likely fall release date. Meanwhile the "Alien" prequel is the biggest project right now without a greenlight but we expect that might soon be changing.