Andy and Lana Wachowski are ready to deliver a new original sci-fi vision in the form of Jupiter Ascending: a project from the Matrix creators which was officially announced last fall, but is only now starting to really come together. That’s mostly due to the filmmaking siblings having only recently completed production on their collaboration with director Tom Tykwer (the Cloud Atlas adaptation).

Natalie Portman was previously said to have been approached by the Wachowskis to headline Jupiter Ascending, but a new report from Deadline indicates that Warner Bros. has gone ahead and offered the film’s respective female and male lead roles to two different big name actors: Portman’s Black Swan co-star Mila Kunis, and the currently-ubiquitous Channing Tatum.

Tatum is one of those actors who’s long attracted criticism (and not without reason) for getting work around Tinseltown thanks to his good looks, rather than his acting chops. However, the Step Up franchise alum has started to get more respect of late, starting with his scene-stealing appearance in last year’s The Dilemma – and especially so in the early goings of 2012, thanks to his solid turns in fare ranging from action-comedy (21 Jump Street) to romantic melodrama (The Vow) and even a Steven Soderbergh joint (Haywire).

Kunis, by comparison, remains as popular a starlet as ever, thanks to her appearances in such films as The Book of Eli, Black Swan, and Friends with Benefits over the past couple of years. That shouldn’t be changing in the near future either, seeing how the charismatic Family Guy voice actress also has parts in both Seth MacFarlane’s upcoming raunchy comedy Ted and Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful, in which she plays (what else?) one of the attractive female leads.

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in ’21 Jump Street’

That’s all to say: just a few months ago, the news that Kunis is being eyed for Jupiter Ascending would’ve probably gone over fine, with Tatum’s potential involvement likely inducing a lot of groans. Jump to the present and even longtime detractors (haters?) of the actor are starting to take him more seriously – and that’s without even having seen Tatum in this summer’s male stripper dramedy, Magic Mike (kidding… sort of). So this news should be given a comparatively warmer reception overall for it.

Details on the plot setup for Jupiter Ascending continue to be kept secret by the media-shy Wachowskis. However, going off their previous work, it’s probably safe to assume the duo’s new cinematic sci-fi dish will be a mix of though-provoking subject matter and stylized filmmaking (with some observable comic book influences on display). That doesn’t guarantee the final result will be a good movie, per se, but it should easily be as interesting and unique a work as everything the pair have produced to date.

We will continue to keep you posted on the status of Jupiter Ascending as the story develops.

Source: Deadline