Late last year it was announced that Sean Penn would be following in the footsteps of actors like Liam Neeson and toplining his own European-set action film. And now, THR is reporting that “Taken” helmer Pierre Morel is in negotiations to direct Penn in his own potential franchise with “Prone Gunman.”
The film, written by Peter Travis, is an adaptation of the Jean-Patrick Manchette novel that will follow Penn as “an international operative named Martin Terrier who is betrayed by the organization he works for and must go on the run in a relentless game of cat-and-mouse across Europe.” Morel, whose last directorial effort was the 2010 John Travolta-starring flop “From Paris With Love,” is probably the best choice for the subject matter. Interestingly, he’ll be the second filmmaker to take a stab at Manchette’s novel, as it was made into the forgotten 1982 French film “Le Choc,” starring Alain Delon and Catherine Deneuve.
Things are moving fast on this one with producer Joel Silver and Studio Canal looking to start lensing in the spring in Europe, so an early 2014 release could be possible. Whenever it shows up, let’s hope that “Prone Gunman” turns out better for Penn than “Gangster Squad” did. And while it’s odd to see Penn go down this route, if it helps get one of his directorial projects off the ground (like “The Comedian” with Robert De Niro and Kristen Wiig) then we’re all for it.