Film News

"V" star Baccarin among actresses on "Avengers" shortlist

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Marvel is conducting screen tests on Friday for one of the final roles still to be cast in “The Avengers” -- the all-star superhero ensemble being directed by Joss Whedon.

Samuel L. Jackson told talk show host Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday the role is that of his “sidekick.”

“V” star Morena Baccarin is on that list. Also said to be vying for the part are Jessica Lucas, Cobie Smulders and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who are still negotiating their test deals for the part of a key member of the espionage agency run by Nick Fury, played in the Marvel movies by Jackson.

The test deals for the role involve a nine-picture option, so whoever snags the role has a chance to be seen in subsequent Marvel movies.

Baccarin may have an edge since the actress did star in Whedon’s short-lived sci-fi TV series “Firefly” and its subsequent film spinoff, “Serenity”.

Lucas was one of the stars of “Melrose Place”, appears in TV’s “Friends With Benefits” and has a role in “Big Momma’s House 3.”

Smulders is best known for her work in the CBS comedy “How I Met Your Mother”.

Winstead, who played Ramona Flowers in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”, next stars in Universal’s “The Thing”, the remake of the 1982 John Carpenter horror movie.

The casting of the female actress will serve to (slightly) even the gender odds in male-heavy cast. Scarlett Johansson (as the Black Widow) is the only notable female in a roll call that includes Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Jackson (Nick Fury), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor).

Shooting on “The Avengers” is slated to start in late April.