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Beckinsale warms up to 'Whiteout' lead

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Kate Beckinsale has signed to star in the action thriller "Whiteout," which Dominic Sena will direct for Joel Silver's Dark Castle Entertainment. The film will be the first to go into production under the company's new structure, which allows Silver to greenlight and finance films autonomously. Warner Bros. Pictures is distributing.

"Whiteout," based on Greg Rucka's 1999 Eisner Award-winning comic book miniseries, revolves around a lone U.S. marshal (Beckinsale) assigned to Antarctica who is investigating the continent's first murder. With only three days until winter, the marshal must solve the crime before Antarctica is plunged into darkness and she is stranded with the killer. Jon & Erich Hoeber wrote the adaptation.

Principal photography on "Whiteout" is scheduled to begin March 5 on location in Montreal.

"Whiteout" is being produced by Silver and Susan Downey. Steve Richards, Don Carmody and Rucka are executive producers. David Gambino is co-producing.

Silver struck a $220 million deal with CIT Group in the fall, securing the financing of 15 films in the $10 million-$40 million range during the next six years from the genre-oriented Dark Castle. Warners, Silver's longtime base, will release the full slate of movies, putting up the costs of P&A while taking a distribution fee.

Beckinsale last year starred in the Adam Sandler comedy "Click" and the horror sequel "Underworld: Evolution." Her upcoming movies include "Snow Angels," a drama that screened at January's Sundance Film Festival, and "Vacancy," which is set for release this year. She is repped by CAA.

Sena is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.