By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 5, 2010 at 9:35AM
Just a few days ago it was reported that a bevy of beautiful young women, including Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rachel McAdams were circling the female lead in Cameron Crowe's upcoming "We Bought A Zoo," but it looks like one has emerged victorious.
Scarlett Johansson is in final negotiations to join the film in the role of Matt Damon's wife who moves with her husband, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and two children into the countryside on a property complete with a dwindling zoo, home to over 200 exotic animals. Once there however, she tragically passes away due to cancer, but inspires the family to rebuild the zoo. Their relationship to the animals grows, ultimately healing the family’s wounds and allowing them to move forward. The relationship between husband and wife will probably be played out in Kleenex-ready flashback; we're beginning to have a weird feeling about this one.
The news flips previous reports that the actresses were being sought for another female lead role, not that of the wife. We're unclear if there is still another major female role to be cast, but the part of Damon's wife is definitely the big one.
Johansson joins Damon in a cast that also includes Thomas Haden Church and Colin Ford. We can't say we're too thrilled by the casting; we don't really buy Johansson as Damon's wife at all and we think the part would've been a better fit for a Rachel McAdams or Amy Adams. That said, Johansson's casting may have helped the film get made by putting a recognizable actress in the co-starring role, and though the flashback-styled narrative chronicling the relationship could so easily be manipulative and cloying, we really hope that Crowe's script is richer than the structure suggests.
Production is slated to begin in March which is intriguing considering that's roughly the same time "The Avengers" is set to go forth, which either means that Johansson will be able to work her schedule around both films or that those vague rumblings of a delay on that film might actually be true. "We Bought A Zoo" will hit theaters on December 23, 2011.