Guy Pearce is in final negotiations to join the cast of Iron Man 3 for Marvel Studios and director Shane Black.

The actor will portray geneticist Aldrich Killian, who created the Extremis technology which will play an important part in the sequel. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) adopts the technology after Killian sells it to terrorists. The story will follow the spread of a virus through nanotechnology, which Tony Stark tries to stop.

Shane Black is directing from a screenplay by Drew Pearce. Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), and Don Cheadle (James Rhodes) will reprise their roles from Iron Man 2, with Ben Kingsley portraying the villain.

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Production is scheduled to start next month in North Carolina. We also reported this week that part of the shoot will take place in China. Guy Pearce can currently be seen in the sci-fi thriller Lockout, and also stars in Prometheus, due in theaters June 8.