Director Nicolas Winding Refn has been attached to a number of interesting projects since he struck widespread acclaim with 2011’s Drive. After his newest film, Only God Forgives, is released later this year, he’ll be helming the British comic book adaptation Button Man: The Killing Game.
While Refn’s attachment to Button Man is still somewhat tenuous, the Dreamworks-backed project is moving forward, regardless. In an effort to further solidify the project, the film’s producers have brought in a respected, up-and-coming talent to polish the movie’s script.
Deadline has announced that writer Matt Cook has been recruited to retool the existing Button Man: The Killing Game screenplay. He will be working from a script previously worked on by Barry Levy (Vantage Point) and Hillary Seitz (Eagle Eye).
Cook has had no screenplays fully produced, though his script for Triple Nine is currently in pre-production under the direction of John Hillcoat (Lawless). He was featured on 2009’s Black List for his unproduced screenplay By Way of Helena, which is currently in development by Mandeville Films. He is known for writing modern-day westerns and slightly quirky crime thrillers.
Button Man: The Killing Game originally appeared in the venerable British comics anthology 2000AD in 1992, with subsequent series throughout the 90s and early 2000s. The story centers around Harry Exton, a coldblooded mercenary recruited by faceless millionaires for a bloody game “played” between men of similar skills and professions. As the controlling “Voices” profit from the deathmatch, Exton realizes that he’s going to have to kill his way not only through the other contestants, but also the men who run the game.
Button Man has traveled a curious path as a film property. Leonardo DiCaprio was rumored to be attached to star in a Button Man adaptation in 2008, but this proved to be fleeting. Nicolas Winding Refn has apparently been working with the project since late last year; with the hiring of Cook, it looks as if Dreamworks and Refn are serious about pressing forward with the adaptation.
Though Cook is an untested voice, it sounds as if his sensibilities are well-suited to Refn’s own aesthetic. If all goes well, Button Man may end up bringing the grim ultraviolence of its source comics to a new and much wider audience.
Button Man: The Killing Game is still a long way off. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for further developments.