Eve believed to be playing a character new to 'Trek' canon

J.J. Abrams’ second installment of the “Star Trek” franchise is gearing up, as the director has chosen Alice Eve to join the ensemble cast, playing a character that’s believed to be new to the canon.

Paramount had no comment on the involvement of Eve, who doesn’t yet have a deal in place — but is expected to soon. Benicio del Toro, whose deal is also pending, is Abrams’ choice to play the villain, as Variety first reported Nov. 4.

Most of the cast from the previous installment is returning, including Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto.

Abrams is back to direct with Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof penning the script. Abrams, Kurtzman, Orci, Lindelof, Bryan Burk, and David Ellison will produce through Bad Robot and Skydance Productions. Production is expected to start in early 2012 with Paramount planning to release the pic on May 17, 2013.

Teresa Palmer (“I Am Number Four”) and Hayley Atwell (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) also tested for the role, but Eve (“She’s Out of My League”) won out.

As is common with Abrams, secrecy has surrounded the pic since the helmer officially announced he would be back — including which characters the new actors will play. Sources say Eve’s character is new to the “Star Trek” universe, unlike del Toro, would insiders believe will be playing someone familiar to Trekkies.

Abrams has just one more major role left to cast; sources say it could be another villain, someone who’s older and in more of a supporting character to del Toro.

Eve, repped by UTA and Untitled Entertainment, was most recently seen in the last season of “Entourage” and can be seen next in Relativity’s “The Raven.”

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