Jan 22, 2015

Tradecraft: Pierre Morel to Adapt Victor the Assassin

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Taken and From Paris With Love director Pierre Morel will follow up his forthcoming Sean Penn assassin movie, The Gunman, with another assassin movie. Morel will reunite with two of his Gunman producers, Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman from The Picture Company, to launch a potential franchise for Studiocanal based on Tom Wood's "Victor the Assassin" novels. Morel plans to helm a movie based on the first book in the series, The Killer (no relation to the classic John Woo movie). The trade humorously acknowledges that the plot "is something spy-thriller fans may have seen before," their tongue-in-cheek description still sounds alright to me: "a hitman on the run, chased and double-crossed by many parties." Yeah, that's what I like.... The publisher's description offers more details. Victor, "a man with no past and no surname," pulls off a kill for hire in Paris in order to retrieve a flashdrive with details about a sunken Russian submarine carrying a payload of next generation missiles. But when he returns to his hotel, he's set upon by a cadre of international hitmen, propelling him on a chase across Europe and eventually to CIA headquarters pursued by the world's intelligence agencies. In a capsule, that sounds kind of similar to Mark Greaney's The Gray Man (currently in development as a film at Sony)... but then it was hardly an original one there, either. It's all in the execution, and I haven't read the book so I don't know how Wood handles it. But I'll watch that movie every time someone makes it, whether it's based on a book by Robert Ludlum, Jean-Patrick Manchette, Mark Greaney or anyone else. Especially when it's directed by Pierre Morel, grandmaster of the neo-Eurospy genre! There are four Victor novels to date (the most recent being No Tomorrow), so if the movie is a hit, it certainly has franchise potential... which is clearly Studiocanal's hope.

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