Actress Cote de Pablo has officially signed on to her first project since her departure from "NCIS" this season, according to preliminary reports. Deadline is reporting that the actress joined Chilean miner film "The 33," to play the wife of one of the miners. The film is based on the real-life events of when Chilean miners were trapped for 69 days in the Copiapo gold and copper mine in 2010 after the mine collpsed. "The 33" will be filming in Chile's Atacama Desert and Colombia, and the ensemble cast will star many actors, including: Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, Kate Del Castillo, Mario Casa, Juan Pablo Raba, Tenoch Huerta, Marco Trevino, Alejandro Goic and Rodrigo Santor.
The news of de Pablo joining the film cast is great for fans that want to see more of her work, but most likely bad news for fans that want to see Ziva make a permanent return to CBS's hit procedural drama "NCIS." Earlier this year, the actress formally announced that she would be departing the show. "I've had eight great years with 'NCIS' and Ziva David. I have huge respect and affection for Mark, Gary, Michael, David (McCallum), Rocky (Carroll), Pauley (Perrette), Brian (Dietzen), Sean (Murray), all of the team and CBS. I look forward to finishing Ziva's story," said de Pablo in a statement regarding her departure. "As far as my decision to leave, that's a personal thing, and I'd rather leave it at that ... The idea of leaving was not something I toyed around with for a long time. It was an overwhelmingly hard thing -- at times terrifying," added the actress to TV Guide.
But fans remained hopeful, as the actress pointed out that as long as her character is not killed off, there's a chance for a return. "The greatest thing about this last episode is that Ziva doesn't die," said de Pablo to TVGuide of returning "NCIS." "As long as a character doesn't die, the character can always come back. Not that it would actually matter, because we bring back characters from the dead all the time on 'NCIS!'" Fans said goodbye to Ziva in the second episode of season 11, when her character tearfully told Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) that she needs to stay in Israel and spend some time with herself. The open-ended goodbye for Ziva--coupled with her romantic confession to Tony--suggests that the actress can most definitely make a return to the show. Adding hope is what Weatherly shared at a CBS International press junket in November about Cote de Pablo taking a break. "Cote's still figuring out the life part," said Weatherly of de Pablo's decision to leave the show. "She just wanted a break."