Paul Bettany is in negotiations to join Johnny Depp in Transcendence, the directorial debut of cinematographer Wally Pfister, The Hollywood Reporter said.
Alcon Entertainment is financing and producing the project.
Plot details have been closely guarded, but sources describe the film as in the vein of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Inception. Depp stars as a man who creates a computer that develops a malevolent awareness.
Principal photography is set to begin in April in Los Angeles, with the movie to be released in mid-2014 by Warner Bros.
Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas and Aaron Ryder are serving as executive producers. Pfister is Nolan's longtime DP.
Bettany teamed up with Depp in The Tourist, the 2010 neither-fish-nor-fowl romantic thriller that also starred Angelina Jolie. Bettany’s most recent starring role was in the vampire action movie Priest.