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SYFY WIRE Borderlands

Jamie Lee Curtis & Jack Black dig into Eli Roth's Borderlands alongside Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart

By Josh Weiss
Jamie Lee Curtis & Jack Black

Cate Blanchett's Lilith has found some company for director Eli Roth's upcoming Borderlands film. Blanchett, who first boarded the video game adaptation last May, will be joined by fellow A-listers Jamie Lee Curtis (HalloweenKnives Out), Jack Black (Kung Fu Panda, Goosebumps), and Kevin Hart (Jumanji: The Next Level, Die Hart). We expect the ensemble to add even more big names once the actual shoot date gets closer.

Variety reports that Curtis will take up the post of Tannis, an archeologist on Pandora — a different planet than the one featured in James Cameron's Avatar universe — who may hold the key to unlocking a vault full of valuable alien technology. However, Tannis' touchy past with Lilith doesn't make for a very smooth treasure hunting environment. The character is based on Dr. Patricia Tannis, a mission-assigning NPC first introduced in Borderlands 2.

"Working with the iconic Jamie Lee Curtis has been a life long dream of mine, and I am so excited for her to bring her humor, warmth and brilliance to the role of Tannis," Roth said in a statement published by Variety.

"Jamie is unique in that her characters have depth and gravitas, but are also always hugely entertaining — she commands the screen,” added Lionsgate Motion Pictures Group President Nathan Kahane. “At this point, Jamie is like family to us — after bringing so much to Knives Out and hosting last summer’s ‘Lionsgate Live’ fundraiser to help theater workers, we could not be more thrilled to be working with her again.”

Black has been tapped to voice Claptrap, "a persistently sarcastic robot that isn’t all that invested in the survival of his teammates," writes Variety. “I am so excited to reunite with Jack, this time in the recording booth,” Roth said in a statement. “Claptrap is the funniest character in the game, and Jack is perfect to bring him to the big screen.”

“We couldn’t have been more in sync with our filmmakers and casting executives as we approached this role,” Kahane added. “Everyone who’s ever played the game knows Jack is perfect for this part. We’re thrilled he will add his endless comic energy and voice to our film — he’ll bring so much to the movie.”

Jack Black

Hart joined the feature in late January and is locked in to play Roland, "a skilled ex-soldier-turned-mercenary," per Variety's description. The character's wiki page goes on to say that Roland "is originally from the planet Promethea and is a former soldier of the Crimson Lance, the highly trained private military of the Atlas corporation." 

On Friday, Hart posted a video to Instagram that showed off some of his shooting range prep for the production. "Preparation is everything," he wrote in the caption, "this is just the beginning." 

“I’m thrilled to be working with Kevin," Roth said when the news first broke last month. "Borderlands is a different kind of role for him, and we are excited to thrill audiences with a side of Kevin they’ve never seen before. He’s going to be an amazing Roland."

Craig Mazin (Chernobyl, The Last of Us) penned the screenplay for the movie, which is being produced by Spider-Man franchise veteran Avi Arad. Randy Pitchford (founder and CEO of Borderlands video game developer, Gearbox Software) and Strauss Zelnick (chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive) are attached as executive producers. It's unclear when filming is set to begin — let alone when the finished product will be released in theaters.

“I’m incredibly proud we can bring this beloved video game to theaters for our fans around the world. Eli and Craig, already accomplished and remarkable visionaries, will be amazing stewards of Gearbox’s innovative Borderlands characters and stories,” Pitchford said when the project was first announced nearly a year ago.