Hounsou mines ‘Diamond’ role

Connelly in talks to star as female lead

Djimon Hounsou has been cast in the starring role opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Warner Bros. Pictures’ African thriller “The Blood Diamond,” which Ed Zwick is directing.

Jennifer Connelly is in talks to star as the female lead in the pic, which is about a smuggler who specializes in the sale of “blood diamonds” in Sierra Leone circa 1999. Hounsou will play an African farmer who inadvertently gets drawn into the drama.

Film is set to begin shooting early next year. Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz were brought aboard the project to rewrite previous drafts by Charles Leavitt and Charlie Mitchell.

Producers include Paula Weinstein, Graham King, Gillian Gorfil, Zwick and Herskovitz. Warners exec Polly Cohen is overseeing for the studio.

Hounsou (“The Island,” “Beauty Shop”) is currently shooting Fox 2000’s “Eragon.”

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