It's official: The mutants are taking over Hollywood. And we're not talking about the freaks running the studios.
Following the monster weekend for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and a day after announcing that a Hugh Jackman-powered sequel is in the works, 20th Century Fox has confirmed to E! News that Jackman's costar Ryan Reynolds will be given his own spinoff and potential franchise-launcher as the Marvel Comics antihero Deadpool.
The 32-year-old Canadian actor, otherwise known as Mr. Scarlett Johansson, will again star as Wade Wilson, a wisecracking, cancer-stricken mercenary who's cured of the disease after undergoing the same Weapon X genetic alteration as Wolverine.
But along with superhuman powers, enhanced strength and self-regenerating healing powers, the slightly unhinged Deadpool can absorb the abilities of dead and captured mutants.
Aside from Deadpool and the Wolverine sequel, Fox is also working on an X-Men spinoff focusing on Ian McKellen's villainous Magneto and another dubbed X-Men: First Class, which is being written by The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz.
Meanwhile, in other casting news:
• According to Variety, Will Ferrell is in negotiations to headline Neighborhood Watch, a comedy about a city guy who moves to the suburbs and stumbles upon a mammoth conspiracy. David Dobkin (The Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus) is in talks to helm.
• Rachel Weisz has climbed aboard the indie political drama The Whistleblower. Inspired by a true story, the film chronicles a female police officer from Nebraska serving as a peacekeeper in postwar Bosnia, who discovers a U.N. cover-up of a sex-trafficking scandal.
• Tom Hanks, who starred in Saving Private Ryan and produced Band of Brothers, wil serve as narrator and adviser of a 35-minute documentary that will debut this November as part of a $300 million expansion of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
• NBC has signed The Office's Mindy Kaling to a two-year, seven-figure deal that will see the writer-producer-star continue her role as chatty Kelly Kapoor on the hit sitcom, while developing another comedic vehicle that she would also headline.
• Peter Dinklage is reuniting with The Station Agent director Tom McCarthy for the HBO fantasy pilot Game of Thrones, described as an epic battle for power set in a vast and violent kingdom. Dinklage will play the outcast brother of the queen.
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