"The Wolverine" has The Viper

24 July – It may be good news yet for 20th Century Fox that Jessica Biel has backed out of the The Viper role in James Mangold's sequel to "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", titled "The Wolverine", as The Viper, a.k.a. Madame Hydra, hails from an unknown Eastern European country, which new candidate, Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova, befits, according to Movie Web.

Best known for portraying Irina in last year's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", the actress' role as The Viper may see her on close terms with Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman, as in the comics she blackmailed him into marrying her as a means to secure her criminal empire in Madripoor, although there is still a possibility that her character may be changed in the film adaptation.

Biel reportedly pulled out after final negotiations with the studio fell through. It is speculated that the 30-year-old "Total Recall" actress would be getting married to boyfriend Justin Timberlake this year, hence the decision.

Meanwhile, Korean American actor Will Yun Lee has been casted as the main villain, Kenuichio Harada, a.k.a. The Silver Samurai, the illegitimate son of a crime lord who uses an electrified samurai suit of armor that may or may not be on Wolverine's side.

James Mangold is directing the film based on a screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie and Mark Bomback. The story picks up after "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", where Logan travels to Japan in order to search for more clues about his true identity.

"The Wolverine" is set to arrive in theaters on 25 July 2013 in Singapore and stars Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee and Svetlana Khodchenkova. The film is currently undated in Malaysia.

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