Benjamin Bratt, currently appearing on the weekly television drama Private Practice, is readying a return to movie screens to play Dwayne Johnson’s nemesis in Snitch, a drug thriller shooting in Louisiana. Variety, which broke the story, says Bratt will play a significant player in a sprawling drug cartel who is outed by Johnson’s character, a father forced to go undercover in the seedy operation to reduce his teenage son’s prison sentence.

Is Bratt in danger of being typecast? The actor, best known for his lengthy stint on Law & Order, memorably portrayed a drug kingpin in Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar-winning Traffic, but he’s often on the right side of the law, so dabbling in a little drug slinging isn’t going to tarnish his reputation.

The story likely lured Bratt in. Snitch is inspired by actual events, where a concerned dad agrees to an unusual deal to go undercover in a Mexican cartel to obtain valuable information and get his son off serious charges. Then again, it could be the cast that attracted Bratt. He’ll join Susan Sarandon, Barry Pepper, Melina Kanakaredes and the brilliant Michael K. Williams (of HBO’s The Wire) in the drama. And, of course, Johnson, who doesn’t necessarily blend into the background in most situations, so I’m dying to find out how director Ric Roman Waugh uses him as an undercover force.

Snitch will shoot in Shreveport until Jan. 19, then has a long post-production stretch, as the film isn’t slated to reach theaters until the first half of 2013.

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