Michael Keaton starring in American Assassin

Michael Keaton

by James White |
Published on

The adaptation of writer Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp character has been bubbling away in development limbo for years now, attracting actors and then losing them like the unlucky main character in the saddest romantic comedy ever. Now the project has handed its heart to Michael Keaton, who is on board to appear as the young counter-terrorism agent's CIA mentor in American Assassin.

And, just as with the actors (Chris Hemsworth and Bruce Willis were among those who considered roles of Rapp and his mentor in the past), the job of director has already been through several owners, with Kill The Messenger's Michael Cuesta currently in place. The script, written by Stephen Schiff, spins the clock back to Rapp's early days with the agency, when he's recruited after his girlfriend is killed in a terrorist strike.

Though Rapp was introduced in 1999, the film adapts the eponymous 2010 tome that looked at his days in training. Keaton's character is described as a Stan Hurley, a secretive Cold War veteran who takes Rapp under his wing. “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,” Cuesta said in a statement picked up by Variety. “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.”

Keaton's been on a run of award-winning films of late, most recently showing up as part of the ensemble in Spotlight, which took home a couple of Oscars late last month. He'll next be seen in The Founder, the story of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc.

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