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Universal eyes femme leads for Tom Cruise pic

Sci-fi epic 'Oblivion' also drops title, going by 'Horizons' -- for now

EXCLUSIVE: Tom Cruise may be turning his attention to Paramount’s “One Shot” now that he’s wrapped New Line’s “Rock of Ages,” but Universal is moving ahead on its own Cruise pic, the sci-fi epic formerly titled “Oblivion” that’s now going by the working title “Horizons.”

This weekend, a diverse who’s-who of Hollywood actresses will test for female leads in “Tron: Legacy” helmer Joseph Kosinski’s next project.

Jessica Chastain, Olivia Wilde, Brit Marling, Noomi Rapace and Olga Kurylenko are among the thesps testing Saturday — though others are still under consideration.

Universal had no comment on the shortlist.

Cruise is set to star as Jack, a man who lives in the clouds above Earth and heads to its surface to repair drones that essentially keep the planet safe from an alien race that has all but wiped out humanity.

There are two key female characters — Victoria, Jack’s right-hand woman and lover who serves as his eyes and ears while he’s on repair missions, and Julia, his fiancee on Earth before the alien invasion.

Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark are producing with Radical Pictures’ Barry Levine and Kosinski, while Radical’s Jesse Berger is exec producing.

William Monahan and Karl Gadjusek wrote the script, while Michael Arndt (“Little Miss Sunshine”) recently did a polish.

While the pic is based on Kosinski’s upcoming graphic novel from Radical Publishing that remains titled “Oblivion” for now, producers dropped the title for the movie because of the video game “Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.”

Universal put McG’s “Ouija” and Mary Harron’s “Wicked Lovely” in turnaround this week — but “Horizons” is on the fast track. Studio acquired the PG-13 project in April after Disney let it go, and has set it for a July 19, 2013, release.

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