Warner Bros. is keeping filmmaker Scott Cooper squarely in the studio fold. Fresh off helming this fall’s Black Mass, Deadline reports that Cooper is now in talks to rewrite and direct the international thriller White Knight for the studio, which is being eyed as a potential franchise in the vein of Bourne and James Bond. The story follows a disgraced Secret Service agent who takes up the job of protecting the family of an arms dealer, which then puts him in the midst of a CIA manhunt.
The Judge screenwriter Bill Dubuque penned the initial draft of the script, but apparently Warner Bros. now likes this as Cooper’s next project. The filmmaker first burst onto the scene with the Jeff Bridges-fronted Crazy Heart, followed by the bleak Out of the Furnace. Black Mass was his highest profile project yet, with Johnny Depp filling the role of gangster Whitey Bulger. The picture received a ho-hum response from critics, but Warner Bros. is forging ahead with an Oscar campaign regardless, which could certainly result in a Best Actor nomination for Depp.
Before taking on Black Mass, Cooper was briefly attached to write and direct the Stephen King adaptation The Stand for Warner Bros. as well, but he joined a long line of filmmakers who weren’t able to crack it (including Ben Affleck and Harry Potter helmer David Yates), and he subsequently moved on to the Bulger pic. With Black Mass, however, it’s clear that Warner Bros. is happy with what Cooper put together and eager to see him make the step up into something a bit more commercial. I think Cooper is a fascinating filmmaker even if I don’t always love his films, so I’m certainly curious to see what an international action-thriller looks like in his hands.