'American Son': Stephan James And Russell Crowe To Star In Paramount's Remake Of 'A Prophet'

Hollywood has been trying to mount a remake of Jacques Audiard's highly acclaimed 2009 crime thriller A Prophet for years, and Paramount Pictures has finally found its leading man for the remake. Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk, Amazon's Homecoming) has been hired to play the lead role, a petty criminal who rises through the criminal ranks after a stint in prison to become a feared and respected gangster. James will join Russell Crowe in the new movie, who has already been cast as ruthless mobster that James' character meets while behind bars.

Stephan James, whose best performance so far is still his incredible, soul-wrenching turn in Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk, has been hired to star in Paramount Pictures' A Prophet remake, which has been retitled to the unfortunately generic American Son. Here's the trailer for the 2009 original movie, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards and won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival:

The original movie starred Tahar Rahim as the lead, and part of the reason behind his character's rise to power was the way he straddled the worlds of both the Arabs and the Corsicans. I'm curious if this remake will lean on cultural heritage in a similar way with James in the lead, or if they'll dispense with that and have him rise through the ranks based on different aspects of his character this time.

Deadline, who reported James' casting, says the plot of the remake centers on "a man (James) who, after falling under the control of a ruthless mobster (Crowe) while in prison, builds a multiracial crime syndicate, takes down his mentor and earns a place for his crew alongside the Italian and Russian mafias."

This will be the second feature directorial effort from Andrew "Rapman" Onwubolu, who previously adapted his viral YouTube short film Shiro's Story into the 2019 feature Blue Story, a down-and-dirty exploration of power, crime, and masculinity on the streets of London:

American Son's script was written by Dennis Lehane, who also knows a thing or two about crime. He's served as a writer on shows like The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, The Outsider, wrote the script for the 2014 Tom Hardy gangster movie The Drop, and also wrote the novels which served as the inspiration for Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Live By Night. Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe are producing, and Deadline says this remake is "a major priority" for the studio, so I suspect we'll be hearing more about this one soon.