The Micheal Keaton renaissance continues to flourish with Spotlight’s recent win for Best Picture at the Oscars, and now the actor has chosen his next big project.
Lionsgate and CBS Film announced that Keaton has become the first casting for the film adaptation of American Assassin, the best-selling book from author Vince Flynn. According to the press release, Keaton will play Stan Hurley, an elusive Cold War veteran and training officer who is tasked with training Mitch Rapp, “a black ops recruit devastated by the loss of his fiancée to a terrorist attack.” Both Stan and Mitch embark on a mission with a Turkish agent to stop an operative from starting World War III in the Middle East.
Michael Cuesta (Kill the Messenger) will direct American Assassin from an adapted screenplay by Stephen Schiff (The Americans), while Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers) and Nick Wechsler (Magic Mike) produce. Cuesta said of Keaton’s casting in a statement:
Stan Hurley is one of the pillars of the Vince Flynn universe and a favorite character for millions of readers, so casting him was a daunting challenge. To have an actor as intelligent and gifted as Michael Keaton bring this beloved character to life is a thrill for everyone involved in AMERICAN ASSASSIN and a cause for celebration amongst ‘Hurley’ fans the world over.
In 2012, Thor star Chris Hemsworth was offered the role of Mitch, while Bruce Willis was courted to co-star. It’s taken a long time to get the American Assassin adaptation off the ground, but hopefully the casting of Keaton means this is back on track.
Keaton launched a major and poetic comeback with Birdman, his Oscar-nominated film in which he plays an actor trying to make a comeback on the Broadway stage after headlining a major superhero franchise. The actor will also star alongside Patrick Wilson and Laura Dern in John Lee Hancock’s The Founder, about Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s. Flynn, who died in 2013, featured the character of Rapp in 14 books, and has the potential to launch the next big action franchise, so perhaps Keaton will be busy for quite some time.