The search has long been ongoing for a pair of leading ladies to appear alongside Tom Cruise in the latest sci-fi project from TRON: Legacy helmer Joseph Kosinski. While the flick is based on Kosinski and Arvid Nelson's upcoming comic book series, Oblivion, it has yet to settle on an official title. Universal briefly flirted with an alternative name, Horizons, but for now, the studio has merely settled on "untitled" instead.
Increasingly-popular actresses like Jessica Chastain (The Help) and Hayley Atwell (Captain America) were among the starlets being eyed for the two female lead roles in Cruise' new venture into the realm of sci-fi/action. However, the parts have instead gone to another actress who was also previously said to be a contender - and an actress who wasn't officially connected to the the project prior to now.
Kosinski's new film takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where lower-class civilians like Jak (Cruise) maintain surface drones on the alien-infested and irradiated surface of the Earth, while the rest of humanity lives safely in the planet's outer atmosphere. One day, Jak and one of his peers, Vika, encounter a "mysterious" woman named Julia, who crash-lands in a strange spacecraft on the damaged planet. Jak thereafter finds himself inexplicably drawn to the enigmatic Julia, even as he begins to question the very nature of the world around him - and, unintentionally, sets off "an unstoppable chain of events" that could change life as Jak and Vika know it.
The role of Vika has been landed by Olga Kurylenko, who was previously reported to be among the actresses who were testing for the role of Julia. However, that role has instead gone to Andrea Riseborough, whose name has not been publically associated with Kosinski's film (before now).
Kurylenko is well-known for playing self-dependent badass characters (see: Quantum of Solace, Centurion) so she seems a natural fit for the part of Vika, in that respect. By comparison, Riseborough has previously delivered solid, but less physically-demanding turns in titles such as Happy-Go-Lucky, Never Let Me Go, and most recently Madonna's W.E. - so her being cast as Julia makes sense, in that regard.
Questions about Cruise's bankability began to circulate in the wake of "under-performing" films such as Valkyrie and Knight and Day, but the success of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol has demonstrated that moviegoers around the globe will still turn out in mass to watch the man run, beat up baddies, and participate in death-defying action - at least, so long as a film has something more than that to offer (ex. interesting supporting characters, impressive filmmaking craft, etc.).
That should be the case with Kosinski's film, which stands to benefit from the former video game commercial director's keen sense of visual style and sharp eye for dazzling sci-fi imagery. Similar to the fourth Mission: Impossible movie and the upcoming One Shot, the Oblivion adaptation also pairs Cruise alongside up-and-coming acting talent, so that the film as a whole appeals to more than just its star's dedicated fanbase.
Plus, with William Monahan (The Departed) and Karl Gadjusek (Dead Like Me) having contributed to the film's script, Kosinski could have better narrative material to offer than he did with the TRON sequel. Don't be surprised if the box office returns for this film reflect that improvement in thematic quality (re: are bigger profits than those for Legacy).
The still-untitled Oblivion adaptation is scheduled to hit U.S. theaters on July 19th, 2013.
Source: Universal Pictures