Amber Heard in talks to play it straight in “Playboy”

2011 is going to be a big year for Amber Heard. She has two new films in theaters — Drive Angry 3D with Nicolas Cage and The Ward from horror mastermind John Carpenter — and she’ll follow that up later this year with The Rum Diary co-starring Johnny Depp. Now comes the news that she’s in talks to play one of the lead roles in a new NBC pilot, Playboy.

Deadline.com reports that that the actress will play “a new hire” at the infamous Chicago nightclub during its heydays in 1963. Based on the details they gave, that she’ll play “an orphan from Fort Wayne, an inquisitive young woman with an untethered sexuality and a dark past,” it seems Amber would play Maureen, which the breakdowns show as having an instant connection with an older man/patron of the club named Nick, who is also involved with an older bunny named Carol-Lynne.

Maureen is described as “devastatingly gorgeous,” and she tells Nick (who is over 40) that she was once called “deft” while younger and she changed her name from Phyllis Trout. (“Obviously no one’s going to put that on a marquee!”) She quotes Marilyn Monroe, and sees her as an idol, someone who made it by reinventing herself, which she aims to do, too.

If Amber scores the role in Playboy, she’d surely be a hit. She’s got the acting chops to accompany a fairly-well penned script about a decade that has proven to be huge on the boob tune, with Mad Men reviving the time when cigarettes and scotches were just par for the course in office buildings. And since Alan Taylor, who directed Mad Men‘s first episode, will be directing the pilot, it’s likely to do well.

But just like Mad Men, how will the women fare? Bunnies weren’t exactly the epitome of feminism, nor have modern-day centerfolds come to be. It seems, though, that women are the center of the show, rather then the men in charge of them, which might bring a much-needed breath of fresh air to the staleness that is masculinity overload on TV. And there’s definitely a lot of history in the city of Chicago when it comes to the early women’s, civil and LGBT rights during this time period. It could be fodder for a really great show, if done right.

And if Amber is playing the lead role, I will be tuning in. Despite having been relegated to several “girlfriend” roles in her career thusfar, Amber has managed to make a name for herself by making an impression on viewers, as well as the industry. The fact that she’s out and being eyed for a very sexualized leading role in a show like Playboy hints at the fact that sexual orientation might have little to do with talent, at least in this situation. And that gives me a good feeling about this overall.

Would you watch Playboy if it stars Amber Heard?

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