Taylor Kitsch American Assassin

The last addition to director Michael Cuesta‘s (Kill the MessengerAmerican Assassin was Michael Keaton. Now joining Keaton and star Dylan O’Brien is Taylor Kitsch, who recently did some strong supporting work in HBO’s True Detective and The Normal Heart. Kitsch has signed on to play the antagonist in American Assassin.

Below, learn more about the Taylor Kitsch American Assassin casting news.

The Hollywood Reporter confirms Kitsch will co-star in the thriller based on Vince Flynn‘s best-selling book series. Years ago, CBS was first going to adapt Consent Kill, but after Flynn wrote a prequel for his character Mitch Rapp, titled American Assassin, the studio decided to take the potential franchise in a new direction. In Cuesta’s film, Kitsch will play the man Rapp (O’Brien) is tracking down — an agent trying to start World War III in the Middle East.

After Rapp’s girlfriend is killed in a terrorist attack, the Arab linguistics student and college athlete undergoes six months of training to combat the enemy. Training him in counter-terrorist operations is Stan Hurley, a “shadowy badass Cold War Veteran” who will be played by Keaton. Together, they’ll investigate a series of seemingly random attacks on military and civilian targets. The two end up working with a Turkish agent — a role in the film that hasn’t been confirmed yet — to prevent the next World War.

For years now, this project has been attracting all sorts of talent. At one point, Bruce Willis and Chris Hemsworth, who was offered $10 million to star, were circling the roles of Rapp and Hurley. Gerard ButlerMatthew Fox, and Colin Farrell were other possible candidates for the thriller, which Antoine Fuqua (The Magnificent Seven) and Ed Zwick (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back) were once attached to direct. Directorial duties ultimately wound up in the capable hands of Michael Cuesta, who may go into production on American Assassin this September. Shooting is expected to take place in London and Budapest. Stephen Schiff, who worked on Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and The Americans, wrote the adaptation.

Here’s more information on American Assassin:

Two decades after the Cold War, Islamic terrorism is on the rise, and CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield forms a new group of clandestine operatives—men who do not exist—to meet this burgeoning threat abroad before it reaches America’s shores. Stansfield’s protégée, Irene Kennedy, finds the ideal candidate in the wake of the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack. Among the thousands grieving the victims is Mitch Rapp, a gifted college athlete, who wants only one thing: retribution. Six months of intense training prepares him to devastate the enemy with brutal efficiency, leaving a trail of bodies from Istanbul and across Europe, to Beirut. But there, the American assassin will need every ounce of skill and cunning to survive the war-ravaged city and its deadly terrorist factions.

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