Facinelli, Tunney, Cruz join UA sci-fi pic

Casting on United Artists’ “Supernova” is heating up fast as three new thesps — Peter Facinelli, Robin Tunney and Wilson Cruz — sign on for roles in the extraterrestrial thriller.

The newly signed cast members will play opposite James Spader in the UA sci-fier, slated to start lensing in mid-April. Walter Hill, who had production credits on the “Alien” film series, is helming.

Facinelli, a little-known twentysomething actor whose profile should rise somewhat this spring with appearances in two studio features, is set to play the villain in the film.

Story, set early in the 22nd century, is set in motion when a hospital spaceship rescues the mysterious survivor of a stranded spacecraft. Facinelli portrays the handsome and seductive castaway who eventually presents a dire threat to people aboard ship.

Two studio films slated for May releases — “The Party” for Columbia, and “Dancer, Texas Pop. 81″ for TriStar — will feature Facinelli. He’s repped by agents Peter Levine and Michael Dowling of the William Morris Agency, and by manager Joanne Horowitz.

Tunney, who won the Volpi Cup for best actress at the 1997 Venice Film Festival for her role in Shooting Gallery’s “Niagara, Niagara,” will play a search-and-rescue paramedic who works on the medical ship.

Tunney’s other film credits include “The Craft.” She’s repped by Creative Artists Agency.

Cruz will take on the role of the hospital ship’s computer engineer. The actor, who was a series regular in ABC’s “My So Called Life,” recently appeared as Angel in the Los Angeles and New York productions of the musical “Rent.” Past credits include Fine Line’s “All Over Me” and a guest appearance on the Christmas episode of Fox’s “Ally McBeal.”

Cruz is repped by manager Steven Siebert and Robert Redlich of Lighthouse Entertainment.

Producing “Supernova” are Ash Shah, Dan Chuba, Ralph Singleton, and Jamie Dixon. Screenplay is by David Wilson.

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