What if even the testosterone levels supplied by Sean Penn and Javier Bardem aren't even high enough for your movie? Cast Idris Elba! That's what director Pierre Morel and producer Joel Silver obviously thought when deciding to cast the Golden Globe-winning Luther star in their upcoming film The Gunman, based on the novel Prone Gunman by Jean-Patrick Manchette.
Elba will be playing a cloak-and-dagger agent named Dupont who tangles with Sean Penn, who also plays an agent for a clandestine operations outfit who is betrayed by his organization, forcing him on the run across Europe. It could be the kind of role for Elba that adds fuel to those 007 rumor fires that he may be positioned as the next James Bond.
A release date for The Gunman hasn't been set yet, but Joel Silver apparently thinks it has franchise potential. As for Elba, he can next be seen in July's Pacific Rim and November's Thor: The Dark World.
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Those who know Pierre Morel know him as a mild-mannered filmmaker, the creative force behind such action-filled jaunts as Taken, District B13, and From Paris with Love. Just your average director of screens big and small, and definitely not the catalyst of some diabolical, top secret government ploy. After all, just because Morel is reportedly in talks with Sean Penn for a new high adrenaline picture Prone Gunman, it'd be totally ridiculous to assume that the helmer is on a classified mission to transform all of Hollywood's leading men into methodical killing machines. That in the guise of blockbuster flicks, he's sending them off, one by one, onto savage quests throughout Europe, until every last SAG member is a drone of the agency with superhuman capabilities for fending off entire armies barehanded.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Penn is in discussions for the lead role of Prone Gunman, an adaptation of the eponymous Jean-Patrick Manchette novel that sets its special ops main character off on an international chase sequence, evading and fighting back against the very agency for which he used to work. It could just be that Morel is finding the basic backdrop of his hit Taken fruitful enough to explore new avenues for exciting storytelling... or maybe, his formula for turning everyday actor Liam Neeson into a boda fide crime ring-defeating, daughter-saving hero. So now that Penn is his newest subject, who else might Morel transform? Leonardo DiCaprio? Denzel Washington? Chad Michael Murray?
[Photo Credit: Wenn]
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It appears Liam Neeson isn't the only over-50 Hollywood A-lister with a "particular set of skills."
Two-time Best Actor Oscar winner Sean Penn is reportedly in negotiations to star in Prone Gunman, an action-thriller vehicle in the vein of the Bourne films. Based on the books by French author Jean-Patrick Manchette, Prone Gunman follows international operative Martin Terrier after he's betrayed by his comrades and sent on the run across Europe. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Penn would play Terrier, who uses every trick in the spy book to elude his pursuers.
Prone Gunman would mark Penn's first foray into the action, a genre that normally courts younger stars but as found major success in the last few years with the older generation. The hope is for the film to be the first of a franchise, following suit with hits like Neeson's Taken and Sylvester Stallone's Expendables series.
Machette's series has been described as existentialist in nature, paving the way for Penn to deliver a performance that's demanding of both physical and dramatic skills. As the actor has proved in the past, the latter shouldn't be an issue. But does he have the makings of an action star?
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: WENN]
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