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Child actor turned gorgeous ingénue Emily Browning was poised to have a major breakthrough in 2011 with two envelope-pushing vehicles primed to throw her in the way for more mature roles. However critics sneered at both the Cannes-selected drama Sleeping Beauty and Zack Snyder's stylish but stupid action-adventure Sucker Punch.
Since the big budget fantasy thriller tanked at the box office, its cast has been attempting to sneak out of the flick's shadow by taking on meatier roles in more grounded dramas. Jena Malone has signed on to front the Carson McCullers' biopic The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, while Oscar Isaac scored the title role in the Coen Bros upcoming period piece Inside Llewyn Davis. As Babydoll, the face of the failed action flick, Browning has had a tougher time shaking off the stink of Sucker Punch, but may now be out of the worst of it as Variety reports the plucky Aussie has entered into talks to star in Catherine Hardwicke's psychological thriller Plush.
2011 was likewise a rough time for Hardwicke, as Red Riding Hood, her long-awaited follow-up to the first Twilight movie, won only scorn from critics and sunk at the box office. Now, she's returning to her roots in a sense, contributing to the script for Plush as she did with her first breakthrough 2003's Thirteen. Together Hardwicke and co-writer Artie Nelson have crafted a twisted tale of a psychologist who has an extra edge on helping his patients through their troubles. See, in addition to being a trained therapist, he's also a psychic and as such can dive into his clients' minds and witness their memories, all the better to aid them in overcoming their personal demons. However, when he meets a traumatized teenager who shares his gift, he seems to have met his match.
Browning is circling the role of the psychically gifted girl, and unfortunately this doesn't sound like it will provide a great departure from the sullen-but-beautiful girls she's played before—especially because big-eyed, brooding girls is sort of Hardwicke's signature. Nonetheless, should Browning sign on, she and Hardwicke can work together to save their fast-sinking reputations in Hollywood, which might light a fire beneath them to do something unexpectedly spectacular with Plush.