Few upcoming productions amuse me quite like Scott Walker’s feature debut, Frozen Ground. Despite an impossibly generic title, the film is already packed with some major “wha-huh?” casting – namely in that it’s a film about a serial killer that is set to star Nicolas Cage and John Cusack, but with Cusack as the murderer. I’m so sold. Now High School Musical’s very own Vanessa Hudgens has joined the cast, set as a near-miss victim who escapes Cusack’s clutches, lives to tell the tale, get the bad guy, and so on and so forth.

The film is based on the true story of Robert Hansen (Cusack), a “serial predator” who essentially launched his own version of The Most Dangerous Game in the Alaskan wilderness. A regular dude to everyone else, Hansen was a total maniac who reportedly abducted more than 24 women to serve as his own prey. Hansen’s style included hiring a prostitute and paying her, after which he would kidnap, torture, and rape her. Following that, he would tie up his prey, and fly them to his cabin in the Knik River Valley in his own airplane. After that, he’d release his victim, only to stalk her and kill her (Hansen was a very experienced hunter) with a gun and/or knife. A real gem that Robert Hansen.

Hudgens will play a character based on teenage Cindy Paulson, who escaped from Hansen while she was actually hand-cuffed in his plane, just before he took off for the cabin. Cage will play the Alaskan State Trooper who finds Paulson, and helps her bring Hansen to justice.

Despite cutting her teeth in the Disney playplace with the HSM films, Hudgens has shown an interest in crafting a real career as an actress. She took on the more-than-a-tween-flick Bandslam in 2009, followed by the disaster that was Beastly earlier this year, followed by somewhat ballsy roles in Sucker Punch and the upcoming Gimme Shelter (for which she chopped her hair off – a real testament to how far she’s willing to go for her craft, I guess). It’s possible that Frozen Ground will establish her as a true dramatic talent though, admittedly, I’d watch this film even if Sarah Palin herself was playing the Hudgens role. Wait, is it too late for that?

Frozen Ground will start shooting next month in Alaska. [Deadline Wasilla]

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