Panamanian renaissance man (actor, musician, politician) Rubén Blades has joined the cast of “Safe House” already staring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. Tim McGraw and Nora Arnezeder — probably best known to American auds for her turn in “Paris 36” — are also said to have roles in the film. A thriller set up over at Universal, the film centers on a junior field officer (Reynolds) who operates a CIA-run safe house in Rio De Janeiro that must help a rogue ex-agent (Washington) escape assassins who want intelligence that he won’t sell them.
Scripted by David Guggenheim, the hotly-buzzed “Safe House” pretty much saw every young actor in Hollywood chasing the role before Ryan Reynolds snagged the coveted co-starring part last year. The buzz was truly two-fold on this project because Swedish director Daniel Espinosa (who helmed the head-turning foreign thriller “Snabba Cash” last year) became the hot, new director to work with last year. Everything came across his plate last year and he took meetings on almost every major project brewing last year including “X-Men: First Class” and the “Wolverine” sequel to name just a few.
Script wise, the last update we heard was screenwriter Terry George (“Hotel Rwanda” and “In The Name Of The Father” ) had been tapped to rewrite the script. There’s also a second logline floating around that describes the story as about a young CIA agent (Reynolds) who must transport a dangerous criminal (Washington) to safety after they are attacked at a safe house. Both are essentially true and points to how twisty and turn-y “Safe House” is, but the Guggenheim draft as it stands is essentially “Unstoppable” — a young buck and a veteran who butt heads, but then have to work together — but instead of trains it’s CIA agents on the run against all sorts of antagonists. It’s a fast-paced, page-turning script, but it could use some texture and depth to make it something out of the ordinary and we’re hoping George can deliver that aspect (if Scott Glenn turns up somewhere as a stodgy old CIA veteran, you can probably see that as a sign they’re not going to break any moulds here). But ranked as #4 on the top 2010 Blacklist fave scripts list, clearly it has potential. There’s currently no exact word on who Blades will play, but we’ll guess he is the American CIA mentor-contact that Reynolds has to deal with by phone in Brazil. Blades spent the last five years as the minister of tourism of Panama — his term ended in 2009 — so it will be his first major role since “Once Upon a Time in Mexico.” [The Wrap]