Alex Pettyfer to Star in Lee Daniels’ Twist on the Action Hero Genre

     October 11, 2013


Lee Daniels built up some clout with 2009’s Precious before blowing it with 2012’s The Paperboy.  But now he has some more with his hit film Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which has grossed over $100 million domestic and could be a contender in this year’s awards race.  In a recent interview with Out Magazine, Daniels says he’s going to use some of that clout on a unique action movie.  The film would star Alex Pettyfer (who played a plantation overseer/rapist/murderer in the overwrought opening minutes of The Butler) as one half of an action duo.  So why would an action movie starring a guy with leading man looks (if not charisma) be a risk for a studio?  Because the film’s twist is also the hook.

Hit the jump for what Daniels had to say about his planned project.

It’s weird putting up a spoiler warning when Daniels is the one who revealing the “twist” ending, but if you don’t want to know how his hypothetical picture ends, stop reading.

Daniels tells Out [via The Film Stage] that Pettyfer’s character would be one half of an interracial gay couple, but “we don’t find out they’re gay until the end of the movie.”  It sounds like a twist that may have been powerful twenty years ago, but the way Daniels puts it, the reveal seems incredibly lame, and an attempt at outdated shock value.  “Look!  The people you were rooting for this whole time are actually gay lovers!  Deal with that, America!”  The riskier move would be to have them be openly gay from the get-go rather than keep them closeted for the whole picture.

Either way, America’s still waiting for its first openly gay blockbuster action hero, but Daniels’ thinks he can be the one to make it happen.  “I don’t think I’m going to have a problem now. I made a $100 million for The Butler. I’m in a rare group. So this is something I feel good about.”  Confident that he can get his movie made, Daniels feels the challenge is to find a black guy to star opposite Pettyfer.


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  • Ashtalon

    I can see the “twist” being revealed early. Say, at the end of the first act (25 minute mark). Then deal with it, either dramatically or comically (whatever the tone of the film is). Having the reveal at the end seems like it’s an afterthought. Or that somehow having a gay couple in a film is taboo.

  • im mister manager

    a live action version of the ambiguously gay duo

  • Jamesy

    Batman and Robin? Not a fan of Pettyfer he seems too wooden. But all for something different, but having the characters revealed as being gay all along just seems like a taboo subject, sort of like oh but they’re GAY…how edgy, it’s not. And now the whole surprise factor is lost, having the characters as an openly gay crime fighting duo from the start would be cool though, in the hands of Spike Jonze or Martin McDonagh it could work as a black comedy type action movie, that I would watch.

    • Hari

      Pettyfer isn’t wooden. He is a good actor, and he gets flack for his personal demeanor (perhaps with reason), but he has always delivered respectable performances.

      • Jamesy

        Perhaps wooden is the right word, but yes his personal demeanour comes across as wooden. What I mean is that he hasn’t done anything in a performance to shock me yet and make me think wow this guy’s good. You sort of know what you’re gnna get from his performance in a sense that he’ll do what’s needed and nothing more, there’s no real wow I really feel this guy went for it. Which is fine, but I wouldn’t watch a movie just for his performance, for me he’s not one of those actors. It’s how I felt with Channing Tatum a few years back but now recently he seems to have grown as an actor.

  • Mars

    Typical Goldberg BS. Always nitpicks Daniels, but loves pretentious hipster movies that show gay relationships. Dude was practically nutting himself over ‘Kill Your Darlings”…at least Daniels is willing to do this (and he’s gay) yet even the gay community will find something to complain about. “Wah wah, he should have them be openly gay” or “You’re portraying gays as outcasts who resort to being vigilantes!”

    • eternalozzie

      “the gay community” does not speak with a single voice for all gay people keep in mind … a lot of what the public is exposed to are the “squeaky wheels” of the gay community.
      Just because mathematically the majority of gay characters in Hollywood are psychotic villains doesn’t really have much bearing. I honestly think a lot of the high profile gays paint the rest of us in bad light (Dan Savage and his horrible couples advice is an example that pops to my mind first). I really don’t want political correctness to get in the way of Hollywood telling a good story … who cares if a gay person is portrayed as a crack head sex addicted crazy person … it’s a very common problem in the community in some cities.
      when I started typing I had a point … now I am not so sure :)

  • Yurine

    There goes the twist >.>

  • rundmc1981

    Pettyfer, Lee Daniels, and a known surprise ending where the twist is their sexuality…even Spielberg doesn’t have that much clout (though he has more sense than that).

  • D.J

    I’m kind of in two minds about this. On the one hand, the ‘gay action hero’ is one of those… ‘taboo’ movie things that really needs to happen at some point BUT the vibe of this whole thing makes it seem as though there’s not much else to the movie itself aside from the whole ‘look! he was gay all along!’ angle, which I don’t think is the right move. How about a solid, well written, engaging action movie that just happens to have a gay protagonist, as opposed to it being the movie’s main point?

    • mick

      See my thing is that why does it have to happen at some point anyway? What is the real value in it happening, especially if it is not going to be the main focal point of the story? For me, if you’re doing an action movie why even have a love interest anyway? What is the point, especially if it is not a superhero movie? Just look at some of the other action movies of the past: Diehard (sure his wife was in it, but was she really that big of a deal? no), Rambo, Predator, or even newer films like the Expendables, The last Stand, hell, even G.I.Joe don’t really have or need to rely on relationship angles to sell the movie. I feel like now the culture is saturated in the whole “there needs to be a … to represent this group” kind of thing. It’s a little ridiculous.

      • Harmon

        I think part of Daniel’s efforts are admirable, but I would agree with D.J. that the route he’s going in seems like a cheap shock value aspect, rather than a simple element of the character. However, I can see why Daniels would want to approach the character and project as a whole like that. For too long now, despite how much or little progress has been made in the mainstream, gay characters are often side characters. And in those instances, they are often either bitchy sluts, villains, or simple comic relief. For every one of those portrayals on both the large and small screen, there is an actual member of the armed forces, police force, firemen, and other everyday heroes who just also happen to be homosexual. And how many times have their experiences been shown in television or cinema? Yes, there are many homosexual characters who have been well written and acted who weren’t a stereotypical feminine man or masculine woman, but they are few and far between. I believe Daniels is wanting to go into that arena, by portraying a man that could still be considered “an average Joe”, but who just so happens to also be gay. Do I wish that was the logline rather than the twist? A hundred percent I do.

  • DNAsplitter

    Will Alex be portraying Ace or Gary?

  • The Flobbit

    Don’t care.

  • JZ

    sorry but this screams flop. Im surprised its being funded tbh.