The sci-fi's the limit for Keira Knightley.
The erstwhile English rose is ditching the period garb and going futuristic, signing on to star in the cloning-themed thriller Never Let Me Go.
Per Variety, the would-be blockbuster centers on a trio of British boarding school students who grow up isolated from the rest of the world only to realize they are actually clones whose sole purpose is to have their organs harvested.
At least if there are any hater-generated complaints about a robotic performance this time around, Knightley can blame it on her character.
Still, the film isn't quite the popcorn-enabled fluff it may seem—the movie is based on the acclaimed, Booker Prize-nominated novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. Alex Garland (28 Days Later) is adapting the flick; One Hour Photo's Mark Romanek directs.
In other major casting news:
• Jason Bateman's career isn't suffering from any arrested development, as the funnyman joins megawatt star George Clooney in Up in the Air. Per Variety, the film centers around the corporate downsized Clooney, who becomes obsessed with collecting frequent-flier miles at the expense of, well, everything else. Bateman plays Clooney's boss and reteams with Juno director Jason Reitman on the flick.
• Abigail Breslin is following in the slightly controversial child star footsteps of Dakota Fanning and signing on to star in a film with some very mature themes. Breslin, per Variety, has signed on to join Maria Bello and Samuel L. Jackson in Rape: A Love Story. Based on Joyce Carol Oates' 2003 novella, the indie drama centers on a mother recovering from a gang rape which was witnessed by her daughter. She continues to be stalked by her attackers but finds protection in the form of a veteran cop.
• For those still wondering, it appears as though nepotism is alive and kicking in Hollywood. Second-generation thesps Katie Cassidy (daughter of David) and Steven R. McQueen (grandson of you-know-who) have both landed pilot projects on the CW, the former on the revised Melrose Place and the latter on Vampire Diaries. Per the Hollywood Reporter, Cassidy will play an up-and-coming publicist on the prime-time soap, while McQueen joins Dawson's Creek creator Kevin Williamson's new project based on the Alloy book series.
• Kim Raver apparently doesn't mind being put Inside the Box. The former Lipstick Jungle star has joined the ABC drama pilot set at a news network's Washington Bureau. Per the Hollywood Reporter, Raver plays a reporter once—but apparently no more—considered next in line to inherit Diane Sawyer's gravitas throne.
• Alyssa Milano has charmed her way into another TV gig, this time on an untitled ABC comedy pilot. Per the Hollywood Reporter, Milano plays a lawyer and mother of two who is the newfound love interest of a telemarketer turned writer, played by The Last Kiss' Eric Christian Olsen. His attentions are split between her and his needy best pal.