EXCLUSIVE: There has been much speculation over whether Jennifer Lopez will return for another season as judge on American Idol. Adding to the intrigue: she is in talks to star in not one, but two feature films. I’m told that Lopez is in discussions to play the female lead opposite Jason Statham in Parker, the Taylor Hackford-directed action film adaptation of the Donald Westlake mystery novel series. Deadline revealed yesterday that the picture was acquired for U.S. distribution by FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel. Statham will play Parker, a thief who follows a strict moral code, but a hard guy who’s willing to kill if crossed. That character was previously played by Mel Gibson in Payback and Lee Marvin in Point Blank. The hope is to hatch an action franchise. John J. McLaughlin wrote the script and Steve Chasman is producing with Kimmel, Hackford, Les Alexander and Jonathan Mitchell. Lopez plays the female lead, a character named Leslie, who gets involved with Parker as he executes a heist.
The film is being financed by Incentive Filmed Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, and Sierra/Affinity’s Nick Meyer brokered that distribution deal and sold most worldwide territories at last month’s Cannes Film Festival. Production on the film begins in August.
At the same time, Lopez is also circling What To Expect When You’re Expecting, the Kirk Jones-directed Lionsgate film based on the bestselling how-to guide to preparing for childbirth. Cameron Diaz and Matthew Morrison star. Lopez is in discussions for the supporting role of Holly in that film. Neither deal is closed, but talks are underway. Clearly, Lopez is in demand again and that stint on American Idol certainly helped. Lopez last starred in The Back-Up Plan. UTA reps Lopez.