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Confirmed: Lena Headey To Play Villain In 'Dredd'

by Oliver Lyttelton
January 12, 2011 1:58 AM
2 Comments
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In a year full of dubious-looking comic-book adaptations ("Thor," "Captain America," "X-Men: First Class" and, most of all, "Green Lantern"), there's one property that looks a little more promising: Lionsgate and DNA Films' "Dredd." An adaptation of the semi-fascist, "Dirty Harry"-inspired future cop character "Judge Dredd," which serves as the flagship title for British comic house 2000AD, and which previously saw itself on the big screen in watered down, incredibly shitty form in the mid-90s, as played by Sylvester Stallone, the new version looks to be far more encouraging.

Paul Greengrass protege Pete Travis ("Omagh," "Vantage Point") is directing, there's a very strong script from Alex Garland ("Never Let Me Go," "Sunshine") and Karl Urban will embody the anti-hero -- who, it's promised, in keeping with comics lore, won't remove his iconic helmet. Filming's underway in South Africa now, and word has just broken that a familiar genre face will be playing the Judge's principle adversary.

After rumors started circulating on Dredd fansites, The Playlist have confirmed with reps for actress Lena Headey ("300") that the British star will play the principle antagonist, Ma-Ma in the project. The matriarch of a drugs gang, who deals a reality-altering narcotic known as SLO-MO, and who presides despotically over an enormous apartment block called Peach Trees, in which most of the action is set, the character, intriguingly, is described in Garland's script as being heavily made-up and scarred, in her later 50s/early 60s, and enormously fat. Will Headey be donning a fat suit and prosthetics for the role, or has the character been glammed-up in later drafts?

Headey's been a presence for nearly two decades now. Since debuting in Disney's live-action "The Jungle Book," she's worked solidly ever since, seeing her career given a new lease of life after playing the Queen in Zack Snyder's "300," which led to two seasons on TV in "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles." She's recently wrapped up the first season of HBO's eagerly anticipated "Game of Thrones" series, but this should be a fun role for her to get her teeth into, "Norbit"-suited or not.

Headey joins Urban and "Juno" star Olivia Thirlby, who'll play Dredd's sidekick, a trainee judge with psychic powers. Like we said, we're big fans of Garland's script, which firmly captures the spirit of the character, with lashings of Verhoeven-style gore and moral ambiguity, and if Travis can get it on the screen, this should be a superhero actioner a few cuts above its rivals. A UK release date in December is being eyed, with the US to follow in early 2012.

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2 Comments

  • Richard Thrift | January 12, 2011 7:33 AMReply

    No problem is it is a good role (and that Lena and the director are making the same movie). That is, I trust her judgement. but I would hope that she would again (soon) return to roles in real time and place. Like she can create like few others can. Like Kaisa, like Margaret, Sylvia, Luce, like Cathy Jones. Not that she did anything less with Guinevere, Kitty or Angelika.

  • J | January 12, 2011 6:56 AMReply

    Lena Headey's first movie was 'Waterland' in 1992. Many projects later came 'The Jungle Book' in 1994. Looking forward to seeing her in this. But I doubt her character will be in her later 50s/early 60s, and enormously fat. It may be a new year but the same old rules still apply. No matter what the part, women aren't allowed to be anything other than HOT! And if that's not true, than why not cast an overweight actress in her 50's/60's? How about Kathy Bates or Kirstie Alley? I'm just saying???

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