Maria Bello has signed on to star in live-action movie “Max Steel” opposite Ben Winchell, Ana Villafane and Andy Garcia.

The casting is the latest component in a campaign by Mattel and Dolphin Films to launch “Max Steel” as a live-action superhero feature film franchise. Shooting started last month in Wilmington, N.C.

Sales to international markets launched at Berlin through a strategic partnership between Dolphin Films Intl. and IM Global, which have sold to France (Metropolitan Film Export), Germany (Universum Film GmbH), Italy (Lucky Red), Latin America (Leda Films) and Russia/CIS (Central Partnership). Open Road will release the film in the U.S. next year.

Stewart Hendler is directing the story of teen Max McGrath and his alien companion Steel, who combine turbo-energy powers to become Max Steel.

Mattel re-introduced the Max Steel franchise last year and has subsequently launched the brand in more than 150 countries with branded entertainment, toys, games and publishing.

Bello will play Max McGrath’s mother. She will be seen opposite Kevin Costner in the film “McFarland.”