Imitation is the usual form of Hollywood flattery.
You can count on a movie like “Taken” to not only spawn a sequel (which opened well enough to reinforce Liam Neeson’s misguided belief that chasing big paydays is the best career path) but a slew of imitators.
You know that’s why “Prisoners” got the green light from Alcon (“The Blind Side”). Similar to the “Taken” series, “Prisoners” tells the story of a small-town carpenter (Hugh Jackman) who takes matters into his own hands when law enforcement fails to retrieve his kidnapped young daughter and friend. Thus Keller clashes with the hot-shot policeman assigned to the case (Jake Gyllenhaal).
At least Canadian filmmaker Dennis Villeneuve (Oscar-nominated “Incendies”) is assembling a top-flight cast, most recently adding busy young actor Paul Dano (“Ruby Sparks,” “Looper”) to the thriller, alongside Melissa Leo. No hint yet about Dano’s role, but considering father and law enforcement figure have been claimed, perhaps Dano plays the villain? UPDATE: Not so, suggests an insider with knowledge of the script; he’s more likely an unshady character who becomes another victim.
Dano is best known for his roles in Oscar-winners “Little Miss Sunshine” and “There Will Be Blood.” He just wrapped Steve McQueen’s historical fictional film “12 Years a Slave,” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender. “Prisoners,” which marks Dano’s first starring role in action-thriller territory, should begin production in early 2013. Alcon aims for a Fall 2013 release.