Selection of model-turned-actress considered surprising

NEW YORK — Director Brian De Palma has found a femme fatale for his pic of the same name, and she is Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.

The actress is negotiating to join Antonio Banderas and Jean Reno in the noir film De Palma wrote and will shoot in Paris and Cannes.

While Romijn-Stamos made a showy debut as the chameleonic assassin Mystique in the Bryan Singer-directed hit film “X-Men,” and followed that by playing the female lead in the John McTiernan-directed remake of “Rollerball” for MGM, her casting was considered a surprise, because actresses with more seasoning read for the role with De Palma.

The director was looking for a heartbreaking bombshell on the order of a Rita Hayworth for the film, a drama about a woman who tries to outrun a past life as a con woman, only to have her past turn up like a bad penny. Banderas plays a paparazzo.

The film is being financed by Tarak Ben Ammar’s Paris-based production company Quinta, along with Epsilon. Sources said that after Romijn-Stamos flew to France to meet with De Palma, negotiations began proceeding quickly with her reps at WMA and 3 Arts. De Palma is planning to tailor the script to suit the actress.

Aside from “Rollerball,” which opens in August, Romijn-Stamos will be seen as the computer-generated heroine in “Simone,” the Andrew Niccol-directed New Line film that stars Al Pacino.

And since her villainous Mystique character was only wounded in “X-Men,” there’s a good chance she’ll be returning for another go-around in the sequel being developed by Fox.

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