Exclusive: Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, And Barbara Hershey Join Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan

One of my favorite filmmakers, Darren Aronofsky is gearing up to shoot his fifth feature film in New York City in just a few weeks. And one of my very reliable spies has uncovered a bit of casting news on this new project.

As you knew already, Aronofky's Black Swan is a supernatural drama is set in the world of New York City Ballet. Natalie Portman stars as Nina, a veteran ballerina who finds herself locked in to a competitive showdown with a rival dancer named Lilly (played by Mila Kunis) "with the stakes and twists increasing as the dancers approach a big performance." The big twist is that Portman's character is not sure whether her rival is a supernatural apparition or if she is having delusions. And if that wasn't enough, you may remember reading that the script includes a sequence where the two main characters have "ecstasy-induced hungry aggressive angry sex."

So what other actors and actresses will join Portman and Kunis in the new Aronofsky film? Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, and Barbara Hershey (The Portrait of a Lady).  There are three Academy Award nominations within the credits of these three new additions. How about that for a cast? Details on what roles these three will play, after the jump.

Ryder will play Beth, Nina's "sorta friend" who has been the school's running lead in all the productions, but who is nearing the end of her career. All the dancers are aiming to take her place as Odette, the Swan Queen, in the next big ballet: Swan Lake. Cassel will be playing the  "handsome but sinister Yevna," the director of the new stage production. And Hershey will play Nina's mother, a role which was at one point Meryl Streep was rumored to be in talks for (my source says that Streep was never offered the role however).

Aronofsky became attached to Black Swan in early 2007, but the film was put into turnaround by Universal. The project is apparently making the rounds to studios and specialty divisions, as part of the CAA package. Mark Heyman, co-producer of The Wrestler, has done a rewrite of the original script by John McLaughlin. My source says that Fox Searchlight, the studio that released Aronofsky's The Wrestler, is becoming close to acquiring the distribution rights.