Despite a very positive critical reception and the considerable talents of cast members Nick Nolte, Tom Hardy, and Joel Edgerton, Gavin O’Connor‘s MMA drama Warrior didn’t exactly set the box office on fire when it opened earlier this month. But the director doesn’t seem too concerned with dwelling on the commercial disappointment. He’s already moved on to his next two projects, and they both sound pretty interesting. The writer/director is reportedly working on a film project titled The Samurai for Warner Bros., as well as a stage adaptation of The Hustler. More details after the jump.

Deadline writes that O’Connor co-wrote the spec script for The Samurai with Ice Age scribe Michael J. Wilson, and that the two sold it to Warner Bros. earlier this week for an amount in the high six figures. The action flick centers around a rogue assassin named Townes Joyce, whose escape from a Texan jail sparks an international manhunt. While on the run, he becomes involved with a woman and her child, and they follow him on a run that takes them through Costa Rica, Colombia, and France before returning to the U.S. A related report at The Playlist has described the film as “a brutal lightning fast thriller” with a prominent love story, so I’m assuming Townes becomes romantically engaged with the mother. O’Connor plans to direct the picture, which is expected to enter production soon.

The reason for the rush is O’Connor’s other current gig, a play based on Walter Tevis‘ novel The Hustler. The book is perhaps best known as the inspiration for the 1961 film of the same title, which starred Paul Newman. O’Connor has already begun writing the adaptation with Warrior co-writer Anthony Tambackis, and has said that he hopes to take the show to Broadway. Renee Zellweger is attached to star as Sarah Packard, who was played by Piper Laurie in the movie.

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