The Wolverine’s Jessica Biel replaced by Svetlana Khodchenkova

Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy’s Svetlana Khodchenkova will now play Viper in Hugh Jackman and James Mangold’s The Wolverine, in cinemas 26 July 2013.

Svetlana Khodchenkova The Wolverine

Svetlana Khodchenkova The Wolverine
Svetlana Khodchenkova on the cover of the Russian Playboy

After it was previously reported that Total Recall‘s Jessica Biel was in negotiations to play the villainous Viper in the Hugh Jackman-starred, James Mangold-directed The Wolverine, it seems that things haven’t worked out, and the studio’s second choice is now in the running.

Russian star Svetlana Khodchenkova most recently played Soviet agent Irina in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, so she’s arguably far more suited to the role of the Hungarian-born Viper, who in the comic-book was the head of an underworld empire in the fictional South East Asian city of Madripoor – a sort of analogue for Singapore – who manipulated Logan into marrying her and then fighting for her against her criminal rivals.

As we said previously, Viper is also known as Madame Hydra, a leading light in the terrorist conspiracy last seen in Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The First Avenger, so while Khodchenkova definitely has the acting chops for this role, we might not be seeing it unless 20th Century Fox decide to reinvent Hydra under another name…