Alice Braga’s new parts

Twenty-five-year-old actress Alice Braga has just been cast
as the female lead in a Universal sci-fi thriller, Repossession Mambo,
initially planned for release in 2010. Haven’t heard of Braga? You will, soon.
And believe me, this Brazilian-born, tri-lingual talent is worth checking out.

Braga is probably best known in the U.S. for the 2002 Brazilian film Cidade
de Deus
(City of God), which received four Academy Award nominations. She’s
been working full-tilt in Brazilian cinema since, earning a couple of "Best
Actress" awards (view an absolutely adorable clip of her at last year’s
Sundance here),
and she’s also made the jump to Hollywood. This year will see the release of
several major films with her in the cast. In I Am Legend, set to hit
cinemas on December 14, she’ll be facing an apocalypse with Will Smith.
Here’s a shot from the set:

Another project is Crossing Over, in which she’s working with Harrison
Ford, Ashley Judd,
and Sean Penn. Set in Los Angeles,
this ensemble drama depicts immigration through the eyes of different immigrant
groups as well as INS officers. Braga’s also signed on for Blindness,
starring Julianne Moore and Sandra Oh, among
others. (She’s in another film slated for 2008, Redbelt, but as it
reportedly features Tim Allen as some sort of former martial arts action hero,
I’m going to pretend it doesn’t exist.)

It looks like Repossession Mambo, which also stars no less than Forest
Whitaker
and Jude Law, will be her largest Hollywood
role to date. (The film with Will Smith is huge, true, but its tagline is all
about "The Last Man on Earth," so I suspect this may not be good news
for Braga’s character.) The script is an adaptation from a novel by
Eric Garcia
, and the storyline is set in a time when most people sport
multiple artificial organs. The main character, a repo man to be played by Law,
falls behind on payments for his heart transplant and flees from his former
partner. Braga’s character, facing monetary and artificial organ problems of
her own, joins him on the run.

This has the potential to be very cool — in fact, it somehow reminds
me of Gattaca, one of Law’s early films, and one of my favorite sci-fi
films ever. Or, it could be extremely silly, à la Body Parts
(1991). But I don’t care. I know I’ll be watching. And appreciating Braga in
all of her new parts.

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