After playing the role of “Hard 10” in “She’s Out of My League,” and having her entire “Sex and the City 2” subplot revolve around whether or not her character wore a bra, it’s nice to see Alice Eve take on a role that requires some acting. The British thespian has just signed on to “Decoding Annie Parker,” based on a true story in which Samantha Morton plays the titular role of Parker, a woman who gets cancer and tries to fight it alongside geneticist Mary Claire King (Helen Hunt), who ends up discovering a gene linked to breast cancer. Eve will play a former friend of Parker, who has an affair with her husband, causing them to divorce.
The rest of the cast lined up for this project is pretty impressive: Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”), Ben McKenzie (Is “Southland” good?) along with Maggie Grace and Marly Shelton and dark horse Best Supporting Actor hopeful Corey Stoll, who did a fine job playing Ernest Hemingway in “Midnight in Paris.”
The co-writer/director of “Decoding Annie Parker” is Steven Bernstein, who got his start as a Director of Photography on “Kicking and Screaming,” “Mr. Jealousy” and “Highball,” the three films from Noah Baumbach’s early “Funny Ha Ha” phase (this writer loves all of Baumbach’s pictures, so no knock intended). Later on, Bernstein switched auteur employers, becoming the DP for Keenan Ivory Wayans’ “Scary Movie 2,” “White Chicks” and “Little Man.” Bernstein’s only previous directing credit is “No Head for Heights,” a 15-minute short from 1992. It will certainly be interesting to see how he deals with this more serious material after a career of working with comedic and anti-comedic talents.
The one reason to be really optimistic for “Decoding Annie Parker” is the presence of Samantha Morton in the mix. Morton is up there with Tilda Swinton and Chloe Sevigny as one of the few actors continuing to make blazingly brave and interesting choices. It’s not just a matter of Morton only acting in material she believes in, it’s also that given her track record (“Morvern Callar,” “In America,” “The Messenger,” to name a few), she’s usually right.
As for Alice Eve, none of her upcoming projects (“ATM,” “The Decoy Bride,” John Cusack’s “The Raven,” something called “Men in Black III”) sound particularly promising. But, here’s hoping she makes an appearance in that “Entourage” movie being developed, of which Mark Wahlberg has said, “If I had to finance it myself, I would do it.” Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. We all remember what happened with “Medellin.”