Author Don Pendleton introduced Mack Bolan (aka The Executioner) in 1969. Pendleton wrote 37 Mack Bolan novels, sold the rights in 1980, and ghostwriters have produced over 600 books in the ongoing series. Over the years, many of Hollywood’s burliest leading men have angled to play the Vietnam veteran who fights against international terrorism, including Steve McQueen, Sylvester Stallone, Clint Eastwood, and Vin Diesel. But a film adaptation has remained elusive.
Writer Shane Salerno (Savages) is scripting a new attempt, and Warner Bros. has just acquired the Mack Bolan movie rights as a star vehicle for Bradley Cooper. Cooper’s Hangover director Todd Phillips is on board to helm the adaptation. More after the jump.
Salerno told Deadline his goal is to craft a “relevant, grounded and gritty, real-world PG-13 action-drama film series.” Salerno’s script is intended as the first of a potential trilogy. Salerno, Phillips, and Cooper will also produce.
I will be impressed if Warner Bros.can get this iteration off the ground where others have failed. Mack sounds like a throwback action hero suited to the likes of Stallone, so I wonder how this film fits into the current state of action franchises.
Cooper likes to dig in to shaded masculinity—as seen in the David O. Russell movies and even Guardians of the Galaxy—so I am interested to see what he does with the role. Phillips at first sounds like a curious choice, but his transition from comedy to action tracks with the arc of the Hangover trilogy.
Here’s a bit of background on the Mack Bolan character from Wikipedia:
Mack Bolan is a Vietnam War veteran serving as a sniper. It is in these jungles where the young Bolan honed his military capabilities and his deadly accuracy. His 97 confirmed kills gave birth to the nickname he would carry for the rest of his life: The Executioner. And yet amidst the chaos of war, Bolan also earned the moniker Sergeant Mercy, for his compassion and willingness to help innocent Vietnamese citizens put in harm’s way or wounded by the conflict around them…
Using the tactics he learned during his military combat, Bolan refused to return to Vietnam and instead took his war to the Mafia. City by city, he strikes ruthlessly to bring down the mafia and to clean the country of this horrific criminal organization.