At first, I mistakenly thought that War, Inc. was a re-named version of Talking to Dog, that Children of Men rip-off I wrote about last year. (It's actually a re-named version of Brand Hauser: Stuff Happens.) War stars John Cusack and Hilary Duff, just like the other one was supposed to. Now Talking to Dog seems to have fallen off the face of the earth, so did the movie studios consider the rip-off angle and go in a new direction? Or did Hilary just follow John to this new endeavor? Or, did my attempts at weird mental mojo* work and make that other project die for good?

Whatever the case, Hilary and John are starring in War, Inc. with sister Joan, Marisa Tomei, and Ben Kingsley, and Rope of Silicon has your first look at the action, and John Cusack's furrowed brow (which you can see a bit of to the upper right). This should be tons better than the other option for a number of reasons, but mainly because the unique, surreal voice of Mark Leyner wrote this puppy. (He's written great novels like The Tetherballs of Bougainville and Et Tu, Babe?)

The film once again puts John in the assassin role, and this time he's contracted to kill an oil minister from the Middle East (Ben Kingsley). Instead of high school reunions, however, his cover is "producing a big trade show that includes a wedding between a local pop star and a politico, but complications ensue." The pics don't show too much, but it is strange to see Hilary Duff looking like a cross between a pop star and tough-ass scorpion tamer in one of them. The film is set for a limited release this May.

*I was so against this project, that I figured if I can make new DVDs pop up by buying the old VHS or bare-bones disc version, or off-handedly talk about celebrity deaths right before they happen, maybe I could will Dog into cinematic death.