Jessica Chastain in Talks to Play Villain in 'X-Men: Dark Phoenix'
Jessica Chastain is in negotiations to star as the villain in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the latest installment of Fox’s banner-carrying X-Men movie franchise.
At the same time, the studio is getting the band together one more time and has closed deals with Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult to return to the franchise after their original three-picture deals expired.
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Longtime X-Men steward Simon Kinberg is writing and is set to make his directorial debut with the tentpole, which is aiming to retell the defining Dark Phoenix storyline from the early 1980s comic book.
Sophie Turner is reprising her role as the X-Men heroine Jean Grey, aka Phoenix, a telepath who, in the comics, saw her powers become amplified to the nth degree when she becomes imbued by a cosmic energy called the Phoenix Force. It eventually overtook her personality and made her bad, necessitating the X-Men to stop her.
The storyline was crudely adapted in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, which was critically maligned and rejected by fans. Kinberg and co. are looking to redeem that effort with their own take that sources say will hew closer to the classic story by Chris Claremont and John Byrne.
If a deal is made, sources say Chastain would play Lilandra, the empress of an alien empire called the Shi’ar, who leads the quest to imprison and execute Dark Phoenix, sending her into conflict with the X-Men.
(She also commands an alien super-team named the Imperial Guard, but it is unclear if that group will be featured in the movie.)
The movie is prepping for a Montreal shoot. Also returning will be X-Men: Apocalypse stars Alexandra Shipp, Tye Sheridan and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
Chastain last starred in the World War II drama The Zookeeper’s Wife and has Molly’s Game, the directorial debut of writer Aaron Sorkin, in postproduction.
She is repped by CAA, Mosaic and Hansen Jacobson.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is slated to open Nov. 2, 2018.
by Rick Porter
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