Graphic novelist Frank Miller ("Sin City," "300") will direct his own screenplay based on the classic Eisner comic strip character.
Paulson joins a cast that already features Eva Mendes, Scarlett Johansson, Gabriel Macht and Samuel L. Jackson. Dan Lauria, Stana Katic, Johnny Simmons and Louis Lombardi will also be part of the ensemble.
"The Spirit" finds a rookie cop who returns from the dead to fight crime. Paulson will play the hero's true love and police commissioner's daughter Dr. Ellen Dolan. Macht is set to play the title role.
Production is slated to begin in October at New Mexico's Albuquerque Studios, according to the trade mag. The Odd Lot and Lionsgate production will be released in 2009.
Paulson — seen recently on NBC's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" — played in a Los Angeles staging of The Cherry Orchard, Off-Broadway in Colder Than Here and opposite Jessica Lange in the Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie. The actress, who enjoyed a recurring role on HBO's "Deadwood," has also been seen on stage in Killer Joe and Horton Foote's Talking Pictures. Her film credits include "Down With Love," "Serenity," "Diggers," "What Women Want" and "The Other Sister." The official website for the film — which currently boasts a poster and a place to register for updates — can be found on the web at lionsgate.com/thespirit/.