With a starring role in Paul Haggis' 'The Next Three Days,' Elizabeth Banks is closer to becoming the movie star that she's always had the potential to be. Perhaps because she's always been such an effective comic actress, it sometimes seemed as if that was all Banks was interested in doing. From 'Zack and Miri Make a Porno' to her immortal cameo in 'The 40 Year-Old Virgin' (in which she reminded us all how effective it is to act like David Caruso in 'Jade'), Banks has never had a problem combining charm, sex appeal and immaculate comic timing, and she's never appeared in a movie that hasn't been better because of her presence.
After nailing roles in more challenging fare like 'Slither' and 'W.', it began to feel like she had the range to be a more accessible Julia Roberts for the 21st century, but apparently Hollywood isn't yet convinced that Banks can carry a film. Now that she's in talks to join Alex Kurtzman's drama 'Welcome to People' to her already stacked slate, it's looking like 2011 might be the year that Elizabeth Banks becomes a household name (and not just in those households wherein people communicate exclusively via 'Wet Hot American Summer' quotes).
The Hollywood Reporter recently reported that Banks is in negotiations for a lead role in 'Welcome to People,' a domestic drama about a "Businessman who returns home after his estranged father's death and discovers that he has an alcoholic sister with a 12-year-old son." The grammar makes it a touch unclear as to whether the alcoholic sister (Banks) has a 12-year-old son, or if the businessman (Chris Pine) learns that he somehow produced an alcoholic sister with his 12-year-old son, but that first one is probably a safe bet. Kurtzman ('Transformers,' 'The Island,') isn't known for writing dramas (or, you know, things that are good), but there's a first time for everything, and -- if you squint -- 'Star Trek's script doesn't completely cripple that film.
'Welcome to People' will also serve as Kurtzman's directorial debut (one episode of 'Alias,' notwithstanding), and is certainly not going to be hurting for on-screen talent. After writing two 'Transformers' films, Kurtzman is probably chomping at the bit to write some actual characters, and we're definitely excited to see what he can do for a movie that doesn't have to worry about selling action figures.