By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com March 5, 2012 at 11:38AM
Australian actor Simon Baker has never quite become a big-screen star. From time to time, it looked like he might be on his way there: he gave a neat, wounded little performance as the closeted, tragic would-be actor who becomes a pawn in Jack Vincennes' schemes in "L.A. Confidential," and pulled off leading man duties with solid charm in George Romero's "Land of the Dead," but despite that, and turns in "The Devil Wears Prada" and "The Ring Two," among others, he's never quite made it to starring status in the movies.
On TV, however, it's a different matter: for four seasons he's starred on CBS' hit procedural "The Mentalist" as Patrick Jane, a former bogus psychic who aids murder investigations. The show continues to be a big hit, and it's afforded Baker the capital to do some smaller indie projects, like his two most recent film turns, "The Killer Inside Me" and "Margin Call." And with the fourth season wrapped up, Baker has found another project to fill his hiatus, with Variety revealing that the actor has signed on to Working Title Films' romantic comedy "I Give It A Year."
Marking the directorial debut of writer Dan Mazer ("Borat"), the film follows the first year of marriage of an unlikely couple, with Rafe Spall ("Hot Fuzz," "Anonymous") playing the husband. There's no word on what role Baker will be taking, but we suspect that, as he did in "The Devil Wears Prada," he'll be playing some kind of smarmy romantic rival to Spall's character. The film is still casting up, but we like the additions so far, Mazer's a funny man, and Working Title has impressive pedigree in the genre, so we're hopeful this'll turn out to be a cut above. Filming gets underway soon for a 2013 release.