Wolverine Finds A New Viper

Svetlana Khodchenkova now in talks

That was fast. A mere two days after the kerfuffle that saw Jessica Biel apparently cast and then drop out of The Wolverine, studio 20th Century Fox seem to have settled on a rather different Viper. Svetlana Khodchenkova is now in talks for the role, with the word on the street that it's hers if she wants it.

A veteran of more than a dozen productions in her native Russia, Khodchenkova is most recognisable over here for having been in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy last year. There, she played Irina, the ill-fated Soviet operative who gives Tom Hardy the tip-off about the mole in the Circus.

Marvel villainess The Viper is a somewhat different prospect then, but if Khodchenkova ia planning to "arrive" in Hollywood, she could do much worse. She's certainly a better fit for the character's Eastern European heritage than Biel (although Viper is Hungarian rather than Russian), and the character's chequered history with Wolverine - they were even married at one point in the comics - should allow some sparks to fly between Khodchenkova and Hugh Jackman. The movie version will be the lover of the Silver Samurai, and part of a plan to take over shadowy ninja gangsters The Hand.

The cast already includes Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Rila Fukushima and Tao Okamoto. James Mangold is the director, and shooting starts in Australia and Japan shortly, for a release on July 26 next year.