The story of CIA operative Mitch Rapp spreads over several books, and CBS Films have spent years trying to use the material for a potential film. Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell and Matthew Fox were previously pursued for “Consent To Kill,” which director Antoine Fuqua circled in 2008, but nothing came to pass. Now CBS is starting with a clean slate, with Deadline reporting that Jeffrey Nachmanoff has signed to direct “American Assassin,” the eleventh book in the series, but the first chronologically.
Edward Zwick and writing partner Marshall Herskovitz had long been working on the script for “American Assassin,” which was to feature Rapp as a young student struck by tragedy and motivated to join the CIA. The books are considered pretty hard-edged, politically conservative books considering a somewhat indelicate approach to the War On Terror, so it’s surprisingly to see Nachmanoff attached. The director had sharpened his teeth as screenwriter-for-hire on blockbusters like “The Day After Tomorrow,” but he made a crackling directing debut with “Traitor” a low-key actioner starring Guy Pearce and Don Cheadle that had a decidedly leftist slant.
Zwick was attached to direct, but CBS Films wanted the pieces in place for a series of films, and while he waffled over his next project, the likely cheaper Nachmanoff jumped aboard. As previously reported, Zwick now turns his attentions to “The Great Wall,” a drama about the mystery surrounding the Great Wall Of China, from a script from him and Herskovitz based on an idea by Legendary Entertainment head Thomas Tull and “World War Z” scribe Max Brooks. And for a leading man, it looks like the first choice is whiter-than-white Henry Cavill, soon to be huge, or at least slightly bigger, on the strength of “Man Of Steel.” Because it ain’t an Ed Zwick movie if you don’t have the historical struggle of foreigners as seen through the eyes of a white dude.