During Comic-Con 2012, reports ran rampant that Total Recall star Jessica Biel was actively in talks with Twentieth Century Fox for a key role in The Wolverine. She addressed the project and rumors in interviews and it was even reported that she had taken the role.
Now comes word that Biel did not accept the offer and that Fox is currently looking at other actresses to take the part of Viper/Victoria/Madame Hydra opposite Hugh Jackman in the sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
The latest update comes from Collider who claim that inside sources have confirmed that negotiations fell apart and that Biel will not be starring in The Wolverine. Fox and director James Mangold will need to act quick to find a replacement with principal photography set to begin next month.
Over the last two weeks, Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee, Hal Yamanouchi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima have all reportedly joined the cast filling out the supporting roles, including the role of the main villain: the Silver Samurai.
As for the role Biel was offered, Viper (Madame Hydra) is an integral character and (complicated) love interest of Wolverine during Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s 1982 arc of the Wolverine comics where the character travels to Japan. She also has ties to the Silver Samurai and the Hellfire Club (from X-Men: First Class).
While the character in Marvel Comics is not a mutant, the villainous (and at times, venomous) Viper is a skilled combat specialist, both up close with melee weapons and from a distance. The character will be altered for the film since the Hydra organization and associated characters cannot be explored by Fox since the film licenses of that segment of Marvel Comics is owned by Marvel Studios.
Chances are the "Hydra" connection and moniker will be dropped entirely and we already know her first name is changing to "Victoria" (Ophelia Sarkissian is her full name in the books).
The Wolverine marks yet another Marvel movie Biel has had her name associated with, having played a part of Blade: Trinity and later having been rumored for a role in Thor. Who do you think should play Viper?
The Wolverine hits theaters July 26, 2013.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.
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