Oscar-winner Sean Penn has played many roles: a gay rights activist in Milk, a no-nonsense crime boss in the upcoming Gangster Squad and even a glam rocker-turned-Nazi hunter in This Must Be the Place. But action star? It looks like that may be the next challenge for Penn to tackle as he’s negotiating to star in Prone Gunman, an action-thriller adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s novel. The French crime story centers on Martin Terrier, an international operative who is betrayed by his organization and is led on a cat-and-mouse chase across Europe. If Penn takes the job, a potential action franchise might also be in the works. Hit the jump for more.
Heat Vision reports that Penn is in negotiations to star in Prone Gunman and possibly his own action series if successful. Prone Gunman was one of three of Manchette’s books to be translated into English, along with 3 to Kill and Fatale. The French novelist was known for reinvigorating the generic procedural with a Leftist and existentialist spin on noir, exploring the human condition via a lethal hitman. This is an interesting bit of news on the heels of the James Bond film Skyfall doing so well critically and at the box office, especially since we just discussed the current and future states of the spy genre in our latest podcast. Perhaps Penn will bring the existentialist touch to the world of espionage. Prone Gunman is produced in part by Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures and is currently seeking a director.
Here’s the book description from Manchette’s novel (via Amazon):
Martin Terrier is a hired killer who wants out of the game—so he can settle down and marry his childhood sweetheart. After all, that’s why he took up this profession! But the Organization won’t let him go: they have other plans. Once again, the gunman must assume the prone shooting position. A tour de force, this violent tale shatters as many illusions about life and politics as bodies.