Jessica Biel to Enchant Luke Evans in ‘Vivaldi’

Patricia Riggen (“Under the Same Moon”) will direct the period romance from a script by Kevin Lund and T.J. Scott

Pardon the cliche, but Luke Evans is having a moment.

Yesterday, the 31 year-old British actor was flying under TheWrap’s radar and today marks his second Deal Central story in less than 24 hours after he was cast as Athos in Paul W.S. Anderson’s 3D take on "The Three Musketeers."

Now Evans is set to star opposite the luscious Jessica Biel in the period romance "Vivaldi," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Evans kind of has an Orlando Bloom-James McAvoy thing going on, and by the end of the year, he will have appeared in no less than seven films. The British actor played Apollo in "Clash of the Titans" and will appear as the Sheriff of Nottingham’s right-hand man in this weekend’s "Robin Hood." He can also be seen opposite Andy Serkis in the Ian Dury biopic "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll," which is currently available On Demand.

As far as Evans’ upcoming projects are concerned, he co-stars with Gemma Arterton and Dominic Cooper in Stephen Frears’ Cannes comedy "Tamara Drewe," and also appears alongside Joe Anderson in the indie drama "Flutter." But the project of his that sounds most exciting is "Blitz," a thriller that stars Jason Statham and Paddy Considine as cops on the trail of a serial killer who has been targeting police officers. Next year, the rising star is set to become a full-fledged Hollywood God as Zeus in Tarsem Singh’s 3D "Immortals."

But I digress … Patricia Riggen ("Under the Same Moon") will direct "Vivaldi" from a script by Kevin Lund and T.J. Scott. Raffaella De Laurentiis and Michael Mosca are producing the project, which will be selling at the Festival de Cannes.

The story concerns "a forbidden romance that develops between composer, priest and violin virtuoso Antonio Vivaldi and his protege, Anna Tessieri Giro, leading him to write his enduring masterpiece "The Four Seasons." At the time, Vivaldi denied any romantic relationship with Giro (an assertion most modern scholars reportedly believe to be true), but she was certainly his favorite prima donna and part of his entourage." I didn’t realize that 18th century composers had entourages, but I’d be very interested to see the period equivalents of Johnny Drama and Turtle.

Forgive the bad joke but I’m sorry — this story sounds super snoozeriffic. Is there really a demand for a Vivaldi movie? Why does Biel waste her time on movies like this when her impressive physicality demands that she should be doing action-heavy commercial films like "Salt" and "Killers?" Just because "Stealth" and "Next" didn’t work out doesn’t mean you should give up on the genre, honey. 

To be perfectly honest, Biel is a complete enigma to me. I’ve interviewed her several times and she’s incredibly sweet in person. She’s a fairly talented actress who has shown a natural charm onscreen in movies like "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" and "Summer Catch." But ever since her best movie — 2002’s "The Rules of Attraction" —  Biel has shown wretched taste in projects. Besides the aforementioned action flops, Biel has starred in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "Cellular," "Blade: Trinity," "London," "Elizabethtown," "The (overrated) Illusionist," "Home of the Brave," "Easy Virtue," "Powder Blue," "Planet 51" and "Valentine’s Day." None of those were very good movies, and she next appears in Joe Carnahan’s male-dominated "The A-Team," which looks pretty terrible.

Biel should be a major star but she’s not and I have absolutely no idea why. She’d be perfect for edgier comedies like "Bad Teacher" and "Friends With Benefits," both of which happen to star her former beau Justin Timberlake, but she seems to be playing it safe. It’s possible that Biel just needs a new agent. CAA represents a lot of young actresses and I doubt Biel is getting the best choice of projects at that agency.

Biel has David O. Russell’s indefinitely delayed "Nailed" on the horizon, and she’s also loosely attached to star opposite Patrick Dempsey in "Flypaper." I wish her luck with her career, but I think she would benefit from a change of scenery.