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!