With a SAG Award for Best Actress under her belt going into the Oscars, “The Help” star Viola Davis has to be feeling pretty good these days – not only on account of the big nomination, but for the doors it’s opened for her career-wise. In a demonstration of that newfound industry cachet, the actress has just been cast in two separate projects – “Ender’s Game”, the Orson Scott Card sci-fi adaptation starring Asa Butterfield (“Hugo”), Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”), Abigail Breslin, Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley; and “Beautiful Creatures”, which is not a remake of the Rachel Weisz film but rather an adaptation of the 2010 young adult novel by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia.
As for “Ender’s Game”, the project has been ramping up for several months now, with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” helmer Gavin Hood signing on to write and direct the film back in April and two rising young actors (Butterfield and Steinfeld) being cast to star in the leading roles. Based on Card’s 1985 sci-fi novel, the film centers on a young genius (Butterfield) who is sent to an advanced military institute in space to train with other gifted children in preparation for an alien invasion. Davis will play a military psychologist who looks after the emotional well-being of the children while devising war games to test their skills.
In “Beautiful Creatures”, meanwhile, Davis will co-star as Amma, a clairvoyant woman who looks after a young boy named Ethan following the death of his mother. The film is a supernatural thriller about two teenage lovers, Lena and Ethan, who begin to uncover dark truths about their Southern town – and how their own families fit into its gloomy history. Richard LaGravanese (“Freedom Writers”, “P.S. I Love You”) wrote the adaptation and will direct, with Alcon Entertainment financing and producing. Alcon also holds the rights to the other two existing books in the series, “Beautiful Darkness” and “Beautiful Chaos”, and are eyeing it as a potential franchise. The production company will distribute the films though Warner Bros. via an existing deal.
Variety, which broke the “Ender’s Game” news, reports that Davis will shoot that film first, followed by “Beautiful Creatures” later in the year.
While it’s good that Davis is getting roles, to be sure, it’s interesting to note that these are both supporting parts. Hopefully there will be more leading turns in the talented actress’ future.
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