Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper?

It was recently reported that Hugh Jackman’s upcoming solo run at a superhero movie, The Wolverine, was looking to include the green-haired, Hydra-trained, poisons expert Viper as one of its main villains. The talk at the time was that Jessica Biel had been offered the role, but soon after word broke that negotiations with the actress hadn’t gone so well, and she probably wasn’t going to be an option going forward.

This, of course, left those in charge with a conundrum. Word had gotten out about one of their big villains, but they didn’t have an actress to announce as playing the part. What to do? Well, according to Twitch, they’ve moved their focus over to a Russian actress named Svetlana Khodchenkova. Though she’s mostly done work in her native country up to this point, many English-speaking audiences will remember Khodchenkova from her role in last year’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, where she received the great honor of getting to smooch on Tom Hardy.

Despite the loss of Biel’s star power, landing Khodchenkova as the Viper could ultimately be better for The Wolverine in the long run, for several reasons. The first being that, while most of her work hasn’t been seen by U.S. audiences, she definitely showed promise in her Tinker Tailor role – arguably more promise than Biel has shown as an actress to this point. Also,  Khodchenkova hasn’t been shy about shedding some layers to do photo spreads for various men’s magazines in the past, so the film shouldn’t be set to lose any sizzle factor if she squeezes into whatever skintight super villain outfit they have planned for the character. And third, Viper is said to have started off her life as an orphan from Hungary, and it just seems like a Russian actress would be much better at pulling off that Eastern European vibe than one from the U.S. Or is that racist?

Of course, whether negotiations with Khodchenkova go better than they did with Biel remains to be seen. Fingers crossed for this one to move along quickly, as it feels like we’ve been hearing about this film’s development for about a decade already.


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