Bana Set, Pine Up For Star Trek

Aussie hunk Eric Bana (“Troy,” “Munich”) has officially signed on to play the villian Nero in the J.J. Abrams-directed reinvention of the “Star Trek” film franchise for Paramount.

Young spunk Chris Pine (“Princess Diaries 2,” “Smokin’ Aces,” “Just My Luck”) is also in discussions to star as Captain Kirk, joining the already cast Zachary Quinto (“Heroes”) as a young Spock, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, Zoe Saldana as Uhura and Leonard Nimoy returning to play the older Spock.

It is unknown whether Bana would play a human or a member of an alien race, though rumors have a group of time-travelling Romulans serving as the main villains of the feature.

Casting is under way in New York and London with several other key roles, notably a young Sulu and Scotty, to be locked in before the November start of production. Shooting will continue through to March, with the film to open Christmas Day 2008.