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Chastain sets sights on sci-fi pic

Will play one of two female leads opposite Tom Cruise

After a long search, Joseph Kosinski has settled on Jessica Chastain for one of two female leads in Universal’s untitled sci-fier starring Tom Cruise.

Previously titled “Oblivion” and/or “Horizons,” pic revolves around a soldier stationed on a future Earth,the surface of which was destroyed by aliens. When he discovers a mysterious woman in a crash-landed pod, it sets off a chain of events that cause him to question everything he knows.

William Monahan and Karl Gajdusek adapted the script based on a graphic novel that Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy”) wrote. Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark are producing through Chernin Entertainment along with Barry Levine of Radical Publishing and Kosinski.

Production is expected to start this winter; Universal is slating the film to bow July 19, 2013.

Disney dropped the pic in March, but Universal picked it up and has made it a top priority, especially with Cruise’s longstanding attachment.

Variety first reported in August that Chastain was one of several actresses who tested with Cruise; the list included Olivia Wilde, Brit Marling and Noomi Rapace. There are two major female roles in the film — the mysterious woman and Cruise’s wife — and it wasn’t immediately known for which role Chastain was negotiating.

Chastain has appeared this year in Fox Searchlight’s “Tree of Life,” DreamWorks’ “The Help” and the Weinstein Co.’s “The Debt,” with “Coriolanus” and “Take Shelter” expected to bow later this year. She’s also landed the lead in U horror pic “Mama,” produced by Guillermo del Toro.

She is repped by CAA and Mosaic.

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