Buckle up: Allen joins Uni's 'Race'


Joan Allen, hot off of Universal Pictures' "The Bourne Ultimatum," is returning to the studio for "Death Race," Paul W.S. Anderson's remake of the Roger Corman cult classic. Ian McShane and Tyrese Gibson also are buckling up for the action thriller, which Jason Statham is toplining.

"Death Race" sees a future America in which prison inmates are forced to brutally compete in an enclosed arena. Statham will play a prisoner who, with only weeks to go before his release, is coerced into being a driver and becomes the crowd favorite called Frankenstein.

Allen will play the warden of the prison who runs the race and ruthlessly forces Statham to enter the arena. McShane will play a coach, while Gibson is a sociopathic racer named Machine Gun Joe who seeks to escape from prison.

Production will start this year with an aim for a fall 2008 release.

Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner are producing via their C/W Prods. as well as Anderson and his Impact Pictures partner Jeremy Bolt.

Scott Bernstein is overseeing for Universal.

Allen, repped by ICM and attorney Frank Stewart, reprised her role as Pamela Landy for "Ultimatum," which broke boxoffice records when it opened to $69.3 million last weekend. She regularly receives acclaim for being a dramatic anchor in productions and starred in the acclaimed drama "The Upside of Anger."

McShane, repped by ICM, is best known for his work on HBO's "Deadwood" and next appears in "The Golden Compass."

Gibson, who most recently appeared in "Transformers," is repped by WMA, Jerome Martin and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.