BREAKING: Michael Keaton cast as Stan Hurley in American Assassin!

I told you I had a feeling some news was coming from CBS Films, and here it is–Academy Award nominee Michael Keaton has been cast as Stan Hurley in the upcoming Mitch Rapp movie, American Assassin.

Here’s the release from CBS Films:

LOS ANGELES & SANTA MONICA, CA, March 9, 2016 – CBS Films and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) announced that Academy Award®-nominee Michael Keaton (Birdman, Spotlight) will star in the adaptation of Vince Flynn’s massive bestseller AMERICAN ASSASSIN.  Acclaimed filmmaker Michael Cuesta (Kill The Messenger, Homeland, L.I.E.) will direct the thriller from a screenplay by Stephen Schiff (The Americans, Ultimate Rush).  Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, Deepwater Horizon, Red) and Nick Wechsler (The Road, Magic Mike) are producing the film.

Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Keaton) would be the most feared training officer in the CIA if more than a handful of people at the agency knew that he existed.  As AMERICAN ASSASSIN begins, Deputy Director Irene Kennedy tasks Hurley with training Mitch Rapp, a black ops recruit devastated by the loss of his fiancée to a terrorist attack.  As Rapp’s training progresses, the pair is dispatched on a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent to stop a mysterious operative from starting World War III in the Middle East.

Published by Atria Books and in mass market paperback by Pocket Books, both imprints of Simon & Schuster, AMERICAN ASSASSIN is one of fourteen novels set in the world of counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp.  Every single one has been a New York Times bestseller, the three most recent entries have been number one New York Times bestsellers and the series has sold nearly twenty million copies to date.

“Stan Hurley is one of the pillars of the Vince Flynn universe and a favorite character for millions of readers, so casting him was a daunting challenge,” said Cuesta, who continued. “To have an actor as intelligent and gifted as Michael Keaton bring this beloved character to life is a thrill for everyone involved in AMERICAN ASSASSIN and a cause for celebration amongst ‘Hurley’ fans the world over.”

AMERICAN ASSASSIN will be the latest release in the partnership between CBS Films and Lionsgate. The film will be co-financed by the two companies with CBS Films handling production and marketing and Lionsgate handling distribution.

Michael Keaton is represented by ICM Partners, Anonymous Content and Wendy Kirk at Ziffren Brittenham, LLP.  The film will begin production this Summer.  Like CBS Films, Simon & Schuster is a division of CBS Corporation.

I can also add that according to a source, Keaton was Lysa Flynn’s (Vince’s widow) first choice for the role of Hurley–not that she had any involvement in casting.

A few years ago when the film was first in production, before the project fell apart, Bruce Willis was being coveted to play Hurley. I personally think Keaton is a serious upgrade over Willis, and brings instant credibility to the film.

It’s also important to note that this was a key casting move because Stan Hurley is essentially the main character of American Assassin, as he is tasked with training the CIA’s new highly touted recruit, Mitch Rapp (yet to be cast).

I’ll have a podcast up soon breaking down who exactly Stan Hurley is, and why I think Keaton is perfect for the role!


  1. You are all over it!! I meant to comment late last night when you suggested there might be an announcement today, but I was in bed and away from my computer, reading it on my phone. (Do you ever sleep, btw?!)

    Anyway, thanks for the incredible job you do on the site. Can’t wait to learn more about this movie as it unfolds! (Will probably be the first movie I watch unfold from its birth to completion.)

    Super excited about it, though!!!


  2. I love Michael Keaton but I do not see him as Hurley… He is not a hard edged, gruff kinda guy. He plays a suit or softer kind of rolls. I have never seen him as a beat em up, shoot em up, drinking, smoking guy.

    It kind of reminds me of Tom Cruise being cast in Lee Childs series as Reacher. A 6’5 250 ish pound machine… I did like the movie with Cruise but it was not the character I read about… Like I see Keaton in this roll of Hurley. When Mitch wrestles in the barn when they first meet…I just don’t see Keaton when I visualize that scene or the torture scene later in the book… I could see Willis but not Keaton.

    Like I said, I love Michael Keaton…I just would never see him in the roll of Hurley. Not as Hurley is described in the series. He is not a force to be recond with as Hurley is portrayed. I hope I am wrong when I see it… Because Flynn was one of my favorite writers and I would hate to have them ruin it over a bad casting. It deserves the right people for the right parts. Honestly, I am not sure I can even picture an actor to play Mitch.

    But then I did not picture anyone to play John Rain in Eisler’s series but they have chosen Keanue Reeves…I can see him. Maybe it is the book. I have had these characters in my head for so long to actually try to put a face to them is difficult for me. I hope Keaton can pull it off, I really do!


  3. Mitch Rapp fan, eh? Have you even read any of the books? When you read the books and Hurley is described who do you picture – Bruce Willis or Michael Keaton?? Bruce Willis is (was) PERFECT for the role. A bit older but in tough-guy shape and kinda crazy. When I heard Willis was going to play him in the movie a few years ago I was extremely excited as he IS Stan Hurley. Then when I heard that Keaton was going to play him,, the wind was out of my sails and I don’t know if I am going to bother seeing the movie. As another commenter wrote – I love Keaton and all his work and think he is fantastic! But Stan Hurley??? How can ANYONE think that makes any sense at all?? I don’t mean to be dramatic here but it is no less than a travesty. As the same reader commented about Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher – that too was pretty ridiculous as Tom Cruise is about a foot shorter and 75 pounds lighter than Reacher. I was very disappointed in that choice as well but must admit that Cruise did a good job. BUT…at LEAST Tom Cruise is known as an actor that plays a hero in action movies! It really, really sucks that Willis isn’t playing Hurley.

    As for the actor playing Rapp – that’s pretty good. I don’t know the actor and that is something I’ve read in other discussions about the movie – that an unknown should play Rapp. This guy is the right age and look for the young Mitch Rapp. we’ll see what happens….


    • Just an FYI, yes, Vince actually wrote Hurley with Willis in mind. However, Keaton is who his wife always wanted to play Stan, so she’s happy. Lastly, they are actors…. Give Keaton time to transform himself into Hurley, I’m sure he’ll do fine!


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