Deadline reports that director Jeffrey Nachmanoff has come aboard to helm CBS Films' American Assassin, an attempt to launch a franchise based on Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp character. I've never read any of Flynn's books, but Nachmanoff seems like a good match to the material to me. In his previous stab at directing a spy movie, 2008's Traitor, he delivered a smart, taut espionage thriller with all the requisite twists and turns, and even made it look impressive on a limited budget. He also directed episodes of Homeland and contributed to the script for The Tourist. (That reminds me, as I search for a post to link to that doesn't exist, I think I have a review of that sitting around somewhere that I never got around to posting. I should dig that up...) I'm certainly curious to see what he does with a big budget action spy movie.
Mitch Rapp's journey to the big screen has been long and slow so far. CBS Films acquired the screen rights to the character in February of 2008 with an eye to creating a franchise, and by January of 2010 had set Antoine Fuqua (Shooter) to direct an adaptation of Flynn's Consent to Kill. That got as far as casting (with Matthew Fox, Gerrard Butler and Colin Farrell all being considered by March of that year), but seems to have fallen apart by June of last year, when it was announced that Edward Zwick (Legends of the Fall) would instead helm the Rapp prequel American Assassin, based on Flynn's 2010 series entry. Now Zwick is out and Nachmanoff is in, but the studio is still keen on beginning with that novel, a prequel which features the hero as a younger man and thus enables CBS Films to kick off their film series with a younger star.