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A Game of Musical Chairs Set Off by Alicia Vikander’s Casting in “Bourne 5”

This whole week has been a whirlwind of casting news, kicked off by the announcement of the new Spiderman. Again, castings that were supposedly set in stone (and reported upon in the movie news) have proven less solid by the time the ink finally dried. In this case, Alicia Vikander has officially been named the female lead opposite Matt Damon in the fifth film of the Bourne franchise. This casting clears out two other roles which Vikander was reported to be very close to signing on for: The Circle, starring Tom Hanks, and the Assassin’s Creed film with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Once Vikander’s name fell from consideration for these roles, the respective producers wasted no time in filling them: Emma Watson will play the role in The Circle, and Ariane Labed has been chosen for the Assassin’s Creed role.

Alicia Vikander has a great deal on her plate, even after ditching these two other roles, but few of them have any real action elements (at least, not in those we have seen yet). The Man from U.N.C.L.E. may provide us with a taste of Vikander in an action role, but even without a full picture of what we can expect from this role in the Bourne franchise, it is definitely another step in the meteoric rise of Vikander as a bona fide movie star. She has plenty of work already in the can, and now we can expect something even more mainstream and visible.

Emma Watson has struggled to shake Hermione from the minds of audiences with her subsequent works, but she has worked with some incredibly talented directors and seems to be on the right path to establish herself as something more than the famous girl wizard. A role opposite Tom Hanks in techno-thriller The Circle is a fantastic step in that direction that should give her more to do than her work as an ancillary character in Noah, and a more serious tone than what we got in The Bling Ring. Obviously, once she is seen as Belle in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, it will be easier to not see Watson as just Hermione, and that film should be released before The Circle, so by the time we get to see her in this it will be more natural to allow her to disappear into her roles.

Finally, Ariane Labed is far lesser-known than either of these other actresses, but she is set to appear in one of the favorites of this year’s Cannes Film Festival: The Lobster. Most of her roles to this point are supporting and relatively sparse. It is hard to tell how developed the role in the Assassin’s Creed film will be, as Cotillard is already attached to the film and there is very little known about the story, characters, or basic plot of the videogame adaption. So, we’ll have to keep our eyes on the development of this story as more becomes known.

All three of these films promise to be front-and-center in the public consciousness by the time that they are released. Any new entry in the Bourne franchise will be celebrated and anticipated, especially one containing Matt Damon and helmed by Paul Greengrass. And Assassin’s Creed has been heralded as the first-coming of legitimate, important videogame movies made with talent and importance (alongside Warcraft, of course), so any shred of news regarding this film will be heavily-reported, as well. Arguably, The Circle has the largest uphill battle for attention among these three films, but if it sports a cast headlined by Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, then I doubt it will struggle too harshly. Regardless, we should be excited at these casting announcements, and certainly should look forward to these three films.

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Derek Jacobs

Chicago,IL 60606

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