It seems that actress Blake Lively is in the midst of deciding how to spend her summer vacation - or, rather, her time off while Gossip Girl goes on hiatus. The starlet is reportedly in the running to join one of two rather different projects that are gearing up to begin production this summer: Sam Raimi's Oz, the Great and Powerful and Oliver Stone's Savages.
Lively is said to have her eye on playing Glinda the Good Witch in Raimi's Wizard of Oz project, but has previously expressed interest in working with Stone - who, reportedly, has settled on Lively as the top choice for his upcoming drug cartel drama.
Variety confirms that Lively has emerged as the frontrunner to join Savages, ahead of fellow rising starlets like Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy) and Teresa Palmer. She would play the free-spirited Ophelia, who (not surprisingly, with a Shakespearean name like that) ends up in trouble, being kidnapped by the leaders of a Mexican drug cartel.
Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass) and Taylor Kitsch (Wolverine) remain in talks to play the male leads - two marijuana kingpins that are also Ophelia's boyfriends - in Savages, a gritty drama/thriller that would feature Lively in acting territory similar to her role in last year's The Town with Ben Affleck.
On the other hand, Lively could continue down the more mainstream blockbuster path by selecting the role of Glinda in Oz, the Great and Powerful as her significant followup to her turn in this summer's Green Lantern. That is assuming she's unable to work out a deal that would allow her to appear in both Oz and Savages.
I've actually thought highly of Lively as an actress since she tackled her first adult acting role in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants back in 2005, truth be told. She's continued to impress me since with her work on Gossip Girl and films like The Town and New York, I Love You, as she's demonstrated a fair amount of versatility - and not just for an actress who still seems to get more credit for her looks than anything else.
Savages would offer Lively the chance to work with some solid talent (both in front of and behind the camera) and provide her the opportunity to show off more of her dramatic acting chops. On the other hand, Oz will feature noteworthy talent like James Franco and Mila Kunis - and with an eccentric auteur like Raimi calling the shots, it could be a cleverly warped and creative spin on a familiar tale. Yes, Alice in Wonderland could be cited as evidence that those elements (unusual director, classic story retold) don't always work out so well as one would hope, but maybe second time is the charm... Maybe.
Which project would you rather see Lively join: Oz, the Great and Powerful or Savages?