UPDATE: Maggie Gyllenhaal also looks to join White House Down.

Roland Emmerich’s films rarely fail to draw big-name actors, and the latest project from the Independence Day director, White House Down, is no exception. The project is based on a spec script penned by James Vanderbilt (The Losers, Amazing Spider-Man), described as an action-thriller in the vein of Die Hard and 24.

Channing Tatum has already been locked down to portray the lead in the film: a Secret Service agent who must handle a paramilitary takeover of the White House.

Deadline is reporting that Jamie Foxx has entered talks to play the Commander-in-chief in White House Down. [Insert obligatory joke about Hollywood movies that feature a black president.] A deal with the Oscar-winner is expected to be struck soon, as production on the film is slated to get going later this summer.

Early word from those who have reportedly read the script is that Vanderbilt’s draft is an appealing thriller that nonetheless unfolds as “Die Hard in the White House,” often matching John McTiernan’s flick beat-for-beat (in terms of plot points and character arcs). Moreover, the lead role reads as a great fit for Tatum; envision a cross between Tatum’s character from 21 Jump Street and John McClane, and you’ve got the gist.

Foxx gets his fair share of hate around the Interwebz – which (for this writer) is confusing, in the aftermath of his performances in Ray, Collateral, Jarhead, The Kingdom, Horrible Bosses, and what looks to be a great turn in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (based on the trailer). Still, he’s a far less divisive name than the one-two punch of Emmerich and Tatum, as far as early buzz for White House Down is concerned.

UPDATE: Variety is reporting that Oscar-nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight, Crazy Heart) is in talks to portray the female lead in White House Down – a character described as a “patriotic Secret Service agent on the president’s detail.”

Jamie Foxx and Franco Nero in ‘Django Unchained’

Emmerich’s movies now tend to be overblown in style, even when they’re not just rehashes of his previous apocalyptic blockbusters (see: 10,000 BC, Anonymous) – but that approach seems called for with White House Down. The film could also help Tatum on his quest to stand apart from his fellow “pretty boy” actor types – he has made steady progress on over the past couple years – with both notable supporting roles in films like The Dilemma and Haywire, along with his leading turns in The Vow, 21 Jump Street, and this month’s Magic Mike.

That’s all to say: White House Down won’t be a re-invention of the wheel when it comes to the action movie storytelling formula; still, it does have the potential to be a good piece of genre entertainment. Take (or leave) that for what it’s worth.

We’ll keep you updated on White House Down as more information comes our way.

Source: Deadline, Variety