Actress Emily Blunt has reportedly nabbed the female lead role in one of Tom Cruise‘s next projects, a sci-fi actioner not be confused with his Oblivion/Horizons that went through a long cycle of “short list” casting choices before settling on its two female leads. Fortunately, Doug Liman‘s All You Need is Kill has not subjected the movie news-consuming public to another drawn-out casting process and has just gone ahead and picked a dazzling lead. Variety reports that Blunt and Warner Bros. have ended a “long flirtation” for the part, with the Brit currently in talks for the role.

The film is being adapted from a “light novel” of the same name by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, that centers on a new soldier (named Keiji Kiriya) who dies in his first battle – which happens to be against evil aliens who are taking over the Earth. Oddly enough, Keiji’s death is not the end of his life, as he wakes up every morning and relives the battle (and his death) over and over. It’s like a war-set sci-fi Groundhog Day.

Blunt will reportedly play “another solider who fights alongside Cruise.” While I have not yet read the film’s highly lauded source material, a brief trip to the book’s Wikipedia page reveals a possible character for Blunt – “Rita Vrataski: A U.S. special forces soldier. Highly decorated and peerless in battle, she is seen as a hero by the entire world. In reality, she was caught in a time loop just like Keiji.” That sounds pretty good.

Cruise has been attached to the film since last October, back when it officially changed its name from We Mortals Are to All You Need is Kill, which was its originally title in the first place. Cruise’s involvement also kicked off an aging-up of the character, as obviously the actor is a bit too old to play a fresh-faced soldier. The script has been written by Dante Harper and Joby Harold.

Variety also reports that Blunt is “one of a handful of women” who are meeting with director Rob Marshall for his Thin Man remake. Johnny Depp is set to star as the male lead (the Nick Charles character), but the list of ladies interested in the Nora Charles role has been long and widely reported. The outlet holds that Blunt is one of the “top contenders,” alongside Kristen Wiig (an offbeat choice) and Emma Stone (who is altogether too young for the role).

Variety points to Blunt’s next film, this month’s The Five-Year Engagement, as proof positive that she can succeed in a lead role that calls for “strong comedy chops.” I’ve both seen Five-Year and been delighted by Blunt at the film’s subsequent press junket (more on that to come), and while I can’t comment beyond that, I will say that I quite agree with the studio and their reasoning.

Blunt also has Rian Johnson’s Looper coming up, and while Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis are the ones getting the most buzz when it comes to the sci-fi flick, sources who have seen the film have pointed to Blunt’s work in it as her best yet.


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