Can ‘Secret in Their Eyes’ Remake Surpass Original With A-List Cast?

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Julia Roberts has reportedly signed on to lead the highly anticipated remake of the critically acclaimed Argentinean thriller The Secret in Their Eyes. Talk of an English-language reboot has been swirling since shortly after the original movie’s debut in 2009, but the project is only just rounding out its A-list cast.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the addition of Roberts to the cast was announced at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the movie is currently being shopped. The actress joins previously announced cast members Chiwetel Ejiofor and Gwyneth Paltrow in the remake, directed and written by Billy Ray (Breach, Shattered Glass).

The new version of the flick follows the story of a former MI5 agent (played by Ejiofor) who returns to Boston on a joint task force with the FBI to investigate an old case involving the rape and murder of a former partner’s daughter. Though years pass with the case unsolved, the ex-agent has never forgotten about it and decides to re-open the investigation after he thinks he’s found the person responsible for the death. Paltrow’s role has been described as a female lead, but the part has yet to be clarified. Meanwhile, Roberts is set to play the former partner who lost her child.

Roberts marks a big catch for a project that’s been struggling to get off the ground for several years now. Plans for a remake helmed by Ray were first announced in late 2010, only months after the Spanish-language original written and directed by Juan Jose Campanella won the Oscar for best foreign-language film. In 2011, it was reported that Denzel Washington had been offered the male lead, but after that, progress on the film seemed to stop altogether until earlier this year.

The filmmakers are clearly thrilled to have Roberts on board and have reworked several factors in order to make the collaboration work. Per The Hollywood Reporter, her role was initially earmarked for a male actor, but was then rewritten specifically for Roberts. The movie was also originally set to shoot in Boston, but will now film in Los Angeles to better accommodate the actress.

The changes could be worth it. Roberts has been on a roll with her choice of projects lately. The Oscar-winning actress received her fourth Academy Award nod for her notable supporting role in 2013’s August: Osage County. Even more recently, she earned a best supporting actress Emmy nomination in the miniseries/movie category for HBO’s well-received flick The Normal Heart. The Secret in Their Eyes remake, while marking a darker turn for Roberts, seems like the ideal vehicle in which to continue her string of superb performances. Meanwhile, the always impressive Ejiofor recently earned his own glowing reviews for 2013’s 12 Years a Slave, which earned the Academy Award for best picture.

The reboot has a lot to live up to: The original crime thriller earned its Oscar by garnering international acclaim and scoring a 91 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But given the material and the stellar cast, it seems to already be shaping up to become a must-see and potentially even an awards season contender for 2016.

The Secret In Their Eyes begins filming in October.

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