‘Species’ cloned

MGM inks cast, helmer Medak for sequel

NEW YORK — MGM has signed Michael Madsen, Marg Helgenberger and Natasha Henstridge to reprise their starring roles in “Species II.” Mykelti Williamson and Justin Lazard join them in the cast.

Peter Medak will direct from a script by Chris Brancato, with Frank Mancuso Jr. producing.

Lazard and Williamson will play astronauts who complete the first manned mission to Mars. Unfortunately, Lazard’s character becomes infected by the alien and slowly begins to mutate. Upon returning to Earth, he seeks out the curvy killer (Henstridge) from the first film, as they try to mate and propagate the deadly alien species. Madsen and Helgenberger, who hunted the alien in the original, take up the chase again, of the aliens and each other.

Like the 1995 original, the project was shepherded by exec veep Greg Foster; Dennis Feldman is exec producer. The first film was a sleeper hit that grossed over $100 million worldwide.

Madsen was last seen in “Donnie Brasco,” and Helgenberger, who won an Emmy for “China Beach,” will next be seen co-starring with Steven Seagal in “Fire Down Below,” and opposite David Caruso in Showtime’s “The Gold Coast.” Williamson stars in “Con Air.” Lazard is making his screen debut after starring in the series “Central Park West.”

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