Bruce Willis is having a pretty good year. Ok, so it hasn’t exactly been spotless: few people liked “Lay The Favorite” at Sundance, and he’s had some near-DTV level cameos in films like “The Expendables 2,” this week’s “Cold Light of Day” and the genuinely DTV “Fire With Fire” (starring 50 Cent, who seems to be running some kind of sponsorship programme for aging tough-guy actors). But he also gave a lovely, atypical performance in Wes Anderson‘s “Moonrise Kingdom,” and according to early reviews today, including our own, is pretty great in Rian Johnson‘s “Looper,” a film that Willis has described as the best he’s ever been in.
So what next for Mr. Willis? Well, 2012 brings a triptych of action sequels, with “A Good Day To Die Hard,” “Red 2” and a cameo in the delayed, troubled “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” but it looks like the star’s on the look out for another part to keep the gunfire flowing in 2014, as Variety report that the actor is in serious negotiations to be the first actor on board the thriller “American Assassin,” based on the novel by Vince Flynn (one of a series centering on character Mitch Rapp). Penned by Mike Finch (“Predators“) and set to be directed by “Traitor” helmer Jeffrey Nachmanoff, it’ll see Willis in mentor mode as a CIA agent who takes Rapp, a recently recruited Syracuse grad who joins the Agency after his girlfriend dies in a terrorist attack, under his wing. His “Red” producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura is shepherding the project, which will be distributed by CBS Films.
The one-time Ed Zwick project, hoped to be the start of a franchise, sounds a little generic from what little we know — “The Recruit” by way of “Spy Game” — but the title suggests something a little more intriguing, and the presence of Nachmanoff, whose “Traitor” was somewhat underrated, and who’s been flexing his muscles in similar territory on episodes of Showtime‘s “Homeland,” has our interest piqued a little. And the announcement of a “Safe House” sequel proves that a spy movie being generic doesn’t necessarily stop it from being a giant hit. Presumably a younger co-star is being sought, so you can expect the usual ranks of Kitsches and Hedlunds and Hammers to be in the running. It’s still a way off yet, though — filming won’t get underway until the fall of 2013, so presumably we won’t see it for another two years. Assuming all stays on course, then, we should see “American Assassin” in theaters during the second half of 2014.