James Badge Dale might not be a name that’s immediately familiar to you, but increasingly, it’s a face that you’ll recognize: the actor had key roles on “24” (as Jack Bauer’s sidekick Chase) and in “The Departed” (as the bent copper who pops Leo in the head at the end), before landing two big leads last year, on HBO‘s “The Pacific” and AMC‘s “Rubicon,” proving to be an intense, yet likable presence.
Things are heading increasingly skywards for the actor, too: he’s got key supporting roles in indie thriller “A Single Shot,” alongside Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan in Steve McQueen‘s “Shame,” and with Liam Neeson, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie, Dermot Mulroney and “Rubicon” co-star Dallas Roberts in Joe Carnahan‘s man vs. wolves actioner “The Grey” all coming up, and he looks close to booking the biggest gig in his career so far, as Variety are reporting that Badge Dale is in talks to join Brad Pitt in the mega-budget zombie epic “World War Z.”
Based on the bestselling fake oral history by Max Brooks, the film, directed by “Quantum of Solace” helmer Marc Forster from a script by J. Michael Straczynski and Matthew Michael Carnahan, is set in the aftermath of an undead apocalypse which has wiped out much of the world’s population, and sees Pitt playing a U.N. researcher investigating the outbreak. Badge Dale will play Captain Spake, a U.S. soldier who attempted to warn his superiors of the coming threat, to no avail.
The actor joins Mireille Enos, star of AMC‘s “The Killing,” who’ll play Pitt’s wife, in the film, while the much in-demand Anthony Mackie was being courted for a part at some stage, although it’s unclear whether his signing on to “Gangster Squad” today has put him out of the running. We’re still a little skeptical of the project: we’re not sure that Forster is the right man for the job, and indeed a recent discussion with colleagues about the project had us agreeing that the best way to adapt Brooks’ book would be with a Ken Burns documentary. But the casting so far has been strong, and we’re prepared to be proven wrong. Filming starts in London shortly, with a release likely for some time in 2012.