By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com May 16, 2012 at 8:00AM
Now roughly six billion people have seen the thing, we can all pretty much agree that Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson were the secret weapons of superhero mega-hit "The Avengers." The former brought a wry understatement to Bruce Banner, as well as performance-capturing the most effective screen take on the Hulk yet, while Johansson banished any memories of her flat turn in "Iron Man 2" and made Black Widow steely, vulnerable, cunning and funny, often in the same breath.
For some time, it looked as though we'd be seeing the two actors team up again, for "Can A Song Save Your Life?," a new musical romance from John Carney, the director of sleeper hit "Once," which Judd Apatow is set to produce. But when we spoke to Ruffalo last month, the actor suggested that Johansson was off the project, and now confirmation has come in that the actress won't be appearing in Carney's film, via Screen Daily. But the good news is that an A-list replacement has already been found, as the trade reports that Keira Knightley has now come on board to play the female lead in the project.
The actress will play a singer who moves to New York, only to be dumped by her boyfriend. But a down-on-his-luck record producer (Ruffalo) discovers her singing in a bar, and sets out to make her a star, with romance presumably blossoming soon after. Oscar-nominee Hailee Steinfeld ("True Grit") is also on board, to play Ruffalo's daughter. Knightley keeps going from strength to strength as an actress, and this is the kind of role that we're keen to see her play, and with the pedigree of Carney and Apatow on board, things are looking very good on this one. A summer shoot in NYC is planned, so we should see this in the second half of next year.