According to Variety, Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment have bolstered the mutant roster for X-Men 3 with Kelsey Grammer, who is set to play Beast, the oversized blue-furred creature who has not yet appeared in an X-Men film.

The Matthew Vaughn-directed sequel is skedded to bow Memorial Day weekend next year.

The studio is setting Vinnie Jones for the bad-guy role of Juggernaut. Jones is the former British soccer player who has been seen in Snatch and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels." Juggernaut, a 6-foot-10, 900-pound metal-clad battering ram, is the half-brother of Professor X and will anchor Magneto's villainous band.

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Fox has begun negotiations with "Lost's" Maggie Grace to play the role of Kitty Pryde, a beauty who can walk through walls. Studio is also searching for an actor to play Angel, a handsome winged mutant who is ashamed of his feathery appendages.

While Grammer might seem a surprise to play a 355-pound blue-colored brute, producer Avi Arad said, "Kelsey was born to play the role," explaining that Beast is the most intelligent of the mutants, a pacifist Ph.D. and genetic researcher named Hank McCoy.

"This is a big role in the new movie, and when we met with him, you can see that Kelsey has that you'd-better-have-a-dictionary-handy intelligence," said Arad, who's producing with Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter.

The pic was scripted by Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg, with 20th Century Fox prexy Hutch Parker overseeing the pic with senior veep Alex Young. John Palermo and Kevin Feige are exec producing.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.