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Ryan Reynolds in Talks for Universal’s ‘Safe House’

Denzel Washington also in crime drama, directed by Swedish filmmaker Daniel Espinosa

Ryan Reynolds is in talks to star in Universal's crime drama "Safe House," the actor's publicist has confirmed to TheWrap.

Reynolds will play a young CIA agent who must transport a dangerous criminal (Denzel Washington) to safety after both are attacked at a safe house. Swedish filmmaker Daniel Espinosa ("Snabba Cash") will direct from a script by David Guggenheim.

Scott Stuber is producing the project, which had many of Hollywood's young actors chasing the coveted role. Reynolds was revealed as a frontrunner a few days ago.

For good reason. Reynolds is one of those unique performers who appeals to both men and women equally. He has the muscled physique, quick wit and ladies' man charm to anchor action films, comedies and romantic comedies alike.

The actor has a busy schedule. Currently filming Martin Campbell's "Green Lantern," he's set to start shooting David Dobkin's Universal comedy "The Change-Up" with Jason Bateman in October. (Side note: I wish they would "change up" Bateman, who doesn't seem like a good match with Reynolds. Maybe this weekend's box office performance for Bateman's similarly titled "The Switch" will prompt Universal to reconsider.)

"Safe House" would presumably begin production in early 2011, before Reynolds starts shooting either 20th Century Fox's "Deadpool" or Universal's "RIPD," which Dobkin is also attached to direct.

Also on the slate: Rodrigo Cortes' thriller "Buried," which he stars in and produces through his company Dark Trick Films, which will also produce "Deadpool," the "X-Men: Wolverine" spin-off that has Robert Rodriguez circling the director's chair.

In between, he'll be busy promoting "Lantern," which Warner Bros. will release on June 17, 2011, and has been aggressively developing a sequel to.

Reynolds is represented by CAA.

The news was first reported by Deadline.