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Lars von Trier -- the dark-souled Danish director whose work has traveled from visually stunning noir ('Europa') to melodramatic tear-jerkers ('Breaking the Waves') to minimalist Dogme outings ('Dogville'), and who doesn't shy away from horrific doom-and-gloom scenarios ('Epidemic,' 'Kingdom Hospital,' 'Antichrist') -- has firmed up the cast for his psychological sci-fi disaster film 'Melancholia.'

Von Trier has picked Kirsten Dunst for the lead in his tale about the wayward planet Melancholia that threatens the Earth with destruction -- of some sort. Also headlining the film is a cast that would light up any international marquee: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, Alexander Skarsgaard, Stellan Skarsgaard and Udo Kier. Lars von Trier -- the dark-souled Danish director whose work has traveled from visually stunning noir ('Europa') to melodramatic tear-jerkers ('Breaking the Waves') to minimalist Dogme outings ('Dogville'), and who doesn't shy away from horrific doom-and-gloom scenarios ('Epidemic,' 'Kingdom Hospital,' 'Antichrist') -- has firmed up the cast for his psychological sci-fi disaster film 'Melancholia.'

Von Trier has picked Kirsten Dunst for the lead in his tale about the wayward planet Melancholia that threatens the Earth with destruction -- of some sort. Also headlining the film is a cast that would light up any international marquee: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, Alexander Skarsgaard, Stellan Skarsgaard and Udo Kier.

According to Deadline Hollywood, Dunst takes the role originally offered to Penelope Cruz before she boarded 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.'

We wish Dunst good luck. Hanging from a web in 'Spider-Man' will be nothing compared to the demands von Trier puts on his actresses. Gainsbourg had to perform unspeakable acts in 'Antichrist' while singer Björk reportedly swore off acting after her turn in von Trier's 'Dancer in the Dark.' Nicole Kidman had to act with a heavy chain around her neck in 'Dogville' and the director and actress allegedly had frequent screaming matches.

'Melancholia' begins shooting this July in Sweden and is scheduled for a 2011 release.