You just saw him running from vampires in the cold, dark Alaska of 30 Days of Night. Now get ready to see Josh Hartnett evading more human adversaries on a hot, Texan football field in End Zone. According to Variety, the actor has been cast as the lead in an adaptation of the farcical Don DeLillo novel, which will be directed by George Ratliff (Joshua). The movie, scripted by Ratliff and his Joshua writing partner David Gilbert, will see Hartnett as a college football running back who is ruining his chances for stardom by thinking too much about another kind of end zone, that related to nuclear war. Also cast are Kat Dennings (Big Momma's House 2), who plays the love interest, and Joshua star Sam Rockwell, who plays the school's publicist. Another significant role, not yet filled, is a professor of international terrorism and mass destruction who sees Hartnett's character as a perfect soldier.

I can't really picture Josh Hartnett as a perfect soldier, let alone a football player. But I guess I never could have imagined him as a cop or a pilot or any other responsible position had I not seen it realized on screen. Mostly my image of him is focused on three relatively slacker roles: Trip Fontaine in The Virgin Suicides; the sex-crazed abstainer of 40 Days and 40 Nights and the "wrong man" protagonist of Lucky Number Slevin. Now that I think of it, though, I could see him as one of the pot-head jocks in Dazed and Confused, and since DeLillo's novel was released in 1972, it places Hartnett's End Zone character in almost the same environment. Of course, I don't recall Randall "Pink" Floyd ever contemplating nuclear war.