After trying her hand at comedy, horror, romance, family film, and drama, Emma Roberts is now moving into the thriller genre with Dito Montiel‘s Empire State. Based on a real-life heist, Adam Mazer‘s screenplay centers around a pair of longtime pals in Astoria, NY who devise a plan to rob an armored car. Liam Hemsworth is one of the friends; the other has not been cast. Dwayne Johnson is also set to star, as an NYPD detective on the case, while Roberts will play a waitress, the requisite love interest role for Hemsworth.

Roberts, who recently appeared in the Sundance dramedy Celeste and Jesse Forever, is currently shooting the indie comedy Adult World with John Cusack. Empire State will enter production this spring. [Variety]

After the jump, a current Bond girl becomes an influential world leader.

After she finishes canoodling with James Bond as Eve in Sam Mendes’ Skyfall, Naomie Harris will be moving into a more serious-minded role with the Nelson Mandela biopic Long Walk to Freedom. Based on Mandela’s memoir of the same title, the film will follow the South African leader’s whole life, including his imprisonment under apartheid, his release, and his rise to the presidency. Harris is in talks to play Winnie Mandela opposite Idris Elba, who was cast last month in the lead role of Nelson Mandela. The character of Winnie Mandela has recently been portrayed in other projects by Jennifer Hudson and Sophie Okonedo.

Though the film has gone through a couple of different directors during its lengthy gestation period, including Shekhar Kapur and Tom Hooper, Screen Daily reports that Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) is now negotiating to take over at the helm. Chadwick and Harris have collaborated previously on 2010’s The First Grader. Long Walk to Freedom is scheduled to start filming this May in South Africa. [The Playlist]

Cool Posts From Around the Web: