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No sooner did negotiations break down between Jessica Biel and Fox than Twitch reports the studio entered into talks with Svetlana Khodchenkova for the role of Viper in director James Mangold’s The Wolverine.
The 29-year-old Russian actress, best known in the West for her part in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, would play the terrorist and mercenary with ties to HYDRA, the Hellfire Club and the Serpent Squad. Created by Jim Steranko, Viper — sometimes with her employee Silver Samurai — has battled such Marvel superheroes as Wolverine, the X-Men, Captain America, Black Widow and The Punisher.
Based in part on the 1982 Wolverine miniseries by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, The Wolverine has Logan (again played by Hugh Jackman) battling ninjas and the politics of the Tokyo criminal underworld for the heart of his ex-lover, the daughter of a Japanese crime lord.
Khodchenkova would join a rapidly expanding cast that includes Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima and Brian Tee. Filming is set to begin next month in Australia before moving to Japan. The Wolverine opens July 26, 2013.