Big news! The Hollywood Reporter just announced that actor Taylor Kitsch will be joining the cast of American Assassin, the film adaption of Vince Flynn’s bestselling novel.
From The Hollywood Reporter (click here to read their full article):
“Taylor Kitsch will play the villain in American Assassin, CBS Films and Lionsgate’s action thriller based on Vince Flynn’s best-selling book series that stars Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton.
Michael Custa is directing the feature project, which sees O’Brien playing Flynn’s hero Mitch Rapp, an Arab linguistics student who joins the CIA as an assassin after his girlfriend is killed in a terrorist attack. Keaton is playing his reluctant mentor, a Cold War veteran.
When the two are enlisted by the CIA to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets, the tracks lead to a mysterious operative intent on starting a World War in the Middle East.
Kitsch will play the villainous operative.
The movie, which sometimes uses the working title The Long Walk, is targeting a September start with shooting to take place in London and Budapest. Stephen Schiff wrote the script.
Di Bonaventura Pictures and Nick Wechsler Productions are producing.
Senior vp of production Mark Ross and vp of production Alex Ginno are overseeing the project for CBS Films.
The film will be co-financed by CBS Films and Lionsgate with CBS Films handling production and marketing and Lionsgate handling distribution.
Kitsch broke through playing heartthrobby football player Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights and also starred in the big-budget tentpoles John Carter and Battleship. He appeared in HBO’s acclaimed AIDS drama The Normal Heart and starred in season 2 of HBO’s True Detective.”
I love the addition of Kitsch to the cast and have long been a supporter of Dylan O’Brien playing Mitch Rapp. Two things jump out to me right away. First, some fans weren’t sure that Dylan was confirmed for the role. Well, it’s official now! Second, and this is pretty obvious, Kitsch’s character doesn’t seem to be in the book.
So, what exactly does that mean?
I’ve spoken directly to someone who has read the script for the American Assassin movie, who is also a fan of the book series. They assured me that while there have been changes made for the film adaption, it’s a really good story and, more importantly, it’s true to the character (Mitch Rapp) that readers have come to know and love.
Honestly, it should come as no surprise to anyone that there would be changes from the book. That’s always the case whenever a novel is made into a movie. That doesn’t bother me, and I’m really looking forward to seeing this once it hits theaters.
Remember too that Flynn’s American Assassin was a prequel to the series he first began in 1999 with Transfer of Power, and shows Rapp joining the CIA after his girlfriend was among those killed in the terrorist attack on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Therefore, American Assassin (the book) is set right around twenty-five years in the past. I think it makes all the sense in the world for CBS Films to make the movie more modern, likely swapping out Rapp’s motivation for joining the CIA for something more recent like, for example, the 9/11 attacks. That’s just my best guess for now, though I hope we hear more about the plot soon.
Bottom Line: I love what CBS Films is doing!