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Saldana heats up ‘Out of the Furnace’

'Avatar' thesp in talks for Relativity drama

The stars of two of the three highest-grossing pics in domestic box office history may be teaming up, as “Avatar” star Zoe Saldana is in early talks to join “The Dark Knight” hero Christian Bale in Relativity Media’s “Out of the Furnace.”

Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart”) is writing and directing the gritty throwback to 1970s movies that’s originally based on Brad Ingelsby’s script “The Low Dweller,” which has since been significantly revised by Cooper. Story follows an ex-con who must choose between his newfound freedom and avenging the death of his younger brother.

Saldana is in talks to play Bale’s ex-wife, a waitress now married to the town sheriff. Robert Duvall is expected to play Bale’s uncle and sources tell Variety that Casey Affleck is the frontrunner to play Bale’s brother, though Relativity hasn’t made a formal offer yet.

Relativity is producing with Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way, as well as Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment. Producers are aiming for a late spring start, though Relativity has not yet greenlit the pic or closed deals with any actors.

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Saldana, who recently starred in Sony’s action pic “Colombiana” and CBS Films’ Sundance drama “The Words,” is currently reprising her role as Uhura in Paramount’s J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Trek” sequel.

Saldana is repped by ICM, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and attorney Kevin Yorn.

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