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Scarlett Johansson Set To Join Matt Damon In Cameron Crowe's 'We Bought A Zoo'

by Kevin Jagernauth
November 5, 2010 9:35 AM
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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.

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More: Actresses, Cameron Crowe, Scarlett Johansson

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  • Les | November 7, 2010 5:50 AMReply

    Johansson is probably playing the part of the young zookeeper who strikes up a friendship with Ben, not the wife, who is not in the draft I read. She dies before the story begins. SJ will probably do fine. It's not a demanding part. Re Americanizing the story there's nothing particularly British about zoos -- in any case the story is really about a man struggling to rebuild his emotional loss by taking on a near-impossible task. That said, I really don't care for Crowe setting the story in San Diego where he's from.

  • zygon | November 7, 2010 4:45 AMReply

    Also Scarlett is more talented than Rachel McAdams, internet groupthink be damned.

  • zygon | November 7, 2010 4:43 AMReply

    Scarlett has a Tony award and at least several of acclaimed film performances, please don't compare her to Kutcher/Bloom.

  • Will | November 6, 2010 10:35 AMReply

    This reminds me of when CamCrow cast Ashton Kutcher way out of his depth in that movie no one saw whatever it was. ScarJo is not old enough for this, nevermind her overstated acting abilities. I won't go sexist and assume she fucked to get in this role, but she's just not credible. Maybe she'll be replaced like Kutcher was. Hopefully the recast will be better than Kutcher's replacement...the charisma-less Orlando Bloom. Blech.

  • sk88 | November 6, 2010 5:18 AMReply

    James , I agree wholeheartedly. SJ is painful to watch on camera. She must be good with the "casting couch".

  • Felix Brown | November 6, 2010 1:56 AMReply

    I'm a big fan of Cameron Crowe but reckon the
    the film should be British casting or at least British Accents, I agree with Amanda to Americanise it really does seem dumb, the genuine story was born of a ZOO on Dartmoor Devon England out in the English countryside please make it believable and do it justice by casting as such.

  • carrie | November 5, 2010 12:51 PMReply

    she's too young to be credible and actually she's very bimbo

  • James | November 5, 2010 12:21 PMReply

    What kind of director chooses Scarlett Johansson over Amy Adams or Rachel McAdams? Umm...

  • amanda | November 5, 2010 10:43 AMReply

    You will not find a bigger Damon fan than me, but this movie sounds terrible (the fact they are Americanizing it is just dumb) and I wish he wouldn't do it. I know he loves working with great directors, but sometimes it isn't worth it.

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