Svetlana Khodchenkova in Talks to Play 'Viper' in The Wolverine
07.20.12 by BrentJS
It took very little time for actress Jessica Biel to decide that she didn't want to play the villainess Viper in director James Mangold's (3:10 to Yuma) The Wolverine, and not much longer than that for 20th Century Fox to find a new actress to play the green-haired vixen. According to Twitch, Fox has entered into talks with Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) for the role, and is "expected to close the deal" before too long.
Viper is a very complex character and an interesting addition to Fox's X-Men movie-verse. Born in the 1920s in an unspecified Eastern European country, the young girl who would become Viper was horribly disfigured on the right side of her face, forcing her to wear her hair in such a way that it covered her injuries. Turning to crime as the only means of survival for a young female orphan in war-torn Europe, Viper eventually entered into a pact with the Elder God Chthon, which allowed her to stave off the aging process. On the crime-infested island of Madripoor, Viper saved Wolverine's life and he swore an oath of loyalty to her. Later, when the throne of Madripoor was left without an heir, Viper reminded Wolverine of his oath to her and forced him to marry her so that she could use his influence in Madripoor to seize the throne. Later still, Viper became the lover of the Silver Samurai.
With such a convoluted past, it's highly unlikely that screenwriters Chris McQuarrie (Valkyrie) and Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard) will want to stick too closely to Viper's comic book origin, but her romantic connections to both Wolverine and Silver Samurai would certainly make for an interesting love triangle in the movie. It would also be very interesting to see the fictitious country of Madripoor play a role in the movie, since it is one of the few fictional places in the Marvel Universe that has yet to be explored onscreen.
The Wolverine is set to begin principal photography in August, shooting on both Australian sound stages and on location in Japan. Franchise star Hugh Jackman returns as Logan/Wolverine, with Will Yun Lee (Total Recall remake) as the Silver Samurai, Hiroyuki Sanada (Speed Race) as Shingen Harada, Tao Okamoto as Mariko Yashida, Rila Fukushima as Yukio, Hal Yamanouchi (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) as Yashida, and Brian Tee (Wedding Palace) as Noboru Mori.