Jan 31, 2013

Tradecraft: Pierre Morel Circles Sean Penn Neo-Eurospy Flick

Late last year, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Sean Penn was circling the assassin thriller Prone Gunman, based on what the trade called an "existential" novel of the same name by French noir specialist Jean-Patrick Manchette. (Existential enough for the current edition of the book to be published by San Francisco's highbrow City Lights Press.) The Oscar-winning actor was apparently hoping to find the same after-50 action stardom that Liam Neeson achieved with Taken. According to the trade, the novel (and the script by Peter Travis) "centers on an international operative named Martin Terrier (Penn) who is betrayed by the organization he works for and must go on the run in a relentless game of cat-and-mouse across Europe." So, basically, it's the plot of every assassin story ever (in recent memory The American springs readily to mind), but in the hands of the right director that could still feel fresh and original with a leading man with the chops of Sean Penn. And now... it looks like the right director has been found! If you're going for a Taken vibe, who better than the director of Taken? This week, the trade reports that Pierre Morel is in negotiations to helm the movie. Morel has carved a niche for himself as something of a neo-Eurospy specialist, having served as cinematographer on The Transporter and Transporter 2 and directed Taken (review here) and From Paris With Love (review here), both of which also starred aging Hollywood leading men in action roles. Action veterans Joel Silver and Andrew Rona are producing, so if Morel signs on, this should indeed be the right team to turn Penn into an action star. According to the trade, "Silver and Studio Canal, which is fully financing the picture, are looking at a spring 2013 production start in several locales across Europe."

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