A few days ago we reported Jessica Biel had been offered the role of Viper in director James Mangold’s (Walk the Line) The Wolverine. However, sources have informed us that talks have broken down between Biel and 20th Century Fox and the studio is now talking to other actresses. With production on The Wolverine set to begin next month in Australia and on location in Japan, you can expect a lot more casting news in the coming weeks. Hit the jump for what we know so far about the film.
As Dave reported, recent casting additions have included a number of Japanese actors in pivotal roles (Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi , Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima).
The Wolverine will reportedly follow the comic book arc from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller in which Wolverine/Logan finds himself as an outsider in Japan. Sanada will play Shingen, a character created by Claremont and Miller, who was a Yakuza crime boss and antagonist to Wolverine. Yamanouchi is reportedly playing a character called Yashida, who may be the head of the Yashida clan to which Shingen belonged. Okamoto will star as Mariko, daughter of Shingen and one-time fiancee to Wolverine. Fukushima is set to play Yukio, one of the deadliest assassins in Shingen’s clan. If the script plays out along the lines of the comic, audiences will be in for a lot of heartbreak, betrayal and dishonor to go along with adamantium claws and mutant healing factor. Sounds like a winning combination.
Getting back to the role of Viper, or Madame Hydra, is said to be of Eastern European descent. The character’s association with Wolverine is complex, involving a forced marriage through blackmail, mortal wounds due to spirit possession and, believe it or not, even actual emotional attachment. This arc would fit in well with the web of betrayal and heartbreak laid out by the other characters in Claremont/Miller story.
The Wolverine is scheduled for release on July 26, 2013.