An adaptation of Beat the Reaper has been in development for years (we first reported on it back in 2011), but now it looks like the film version of Josh Bazell’s suspense novel might finally be coming together. The Tracking Board reports that Sebastian Stan has signed on to lead the film with Gore Verbinski coming on board to direct.
Per The Tracking Board, “Beat the Reaper follows a young ER doctor whose life is upended when a patient recognizes him from his past life as a mafia hitman. He’s forced to fight to stay alive as old enemies come out of the woodwork to destroy him.”
Leonardo DiCaprio, who will co-produce through his Appian Way banner, once considered the role as a starring vehicle, but once the project moved to HBO, not much was heard about it. The Tracking Board doesn’t specify if this will remain an HBO movie or if production companies New Regency and Appian Way will be shopping this around to other studios now that it has a director and actor on board working from a script by Billions creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien.
Verbinski left Gambit earlier this year, so it’s glad to see him back on board with another project. Given the bizarre plot, he should have a lot of fun with this one, and I’m eager to see what kind of performance we get from Stan.
Here’s the synopsis for Josh Bazell’s Beat the Reaper:
Dr. Peter Brown is an intern at Manhattan’s worst hospital, with a talent for medicine, a shift from hell, and a past he’d prefer to keep hidden. Whether it’s a blocked circumflex artery or a plan to land a massive malpractice suit, he knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.
Pietro “Bearclaw” Brnwna is a hitman for the mob, with a genius for violence, a well-earned fear of sharks, and an overly close relationship with the Federal Witness Relocation Program. More likely to leave a trail of dead gangsters than a molecule of evidence, he’s the last person you want to see in your hospital room.
Nicholas LoBrutto, aka Eddy Squillante, is Dr. Brown’s new patient, with three months to live and a very strange idea: that Peter Brown and Pietro Brnwa might-just might-be the same person …
Now, with the mob, the government, and death itself descending on the hospital, Peter has to buy time and do whatever it takes to keep his patients, himself, and his last shot at redemption alive. To get through the next eight hours-and somehow beat the reaper.
Spattered in adrenaline-fueled action and bone-saw-sharp dialogue, BEAT THE REAPER is a debut thriller so utterly original you won’t be able to guess what happens next, and so shockingly entertaining you won’t be able to put it down.