Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount is negotiating with Kelly Reilly to play the female lead opposite Denzel Washington in Flight, the Robert Zemeckis-directed thriller. This is a real opportunity for the British actress, who scores a role that a lot of actresses wanted. The short list going into the weekend was Reilly, Olivia Wilde and Dominique McElligott. In the John Gatins-scripted drama, Reilly is negotiating to play Nicole Devlin, a drug addict who is at rock bottom when she meets Whip (Washington), a commercial airline pilot who heroically flies a damaged plane to safety, saving saving 98 lives on a flight carrying 106 people. That achievement comes under a cloud when an investigation ensues over whether or not he had been drinking. The pilot and the girl become friends as each tries to get their demons under control. Reilly, whose credits include Sherlock Holmes, its upcoming sequel and Pride & Prejudice, is repped by ICM and Troika in the UK.