Oscar-winner (and Hollywood icon) Denzel Washington likes to vary between roles in prestigious drama fare and more mainstream, action-packed material. He’s not planning to drop that habit anytime soon, seeing how he recently wrapped work on director Robert Zemeckis’ Flight – and is now in talks to play an undercover government agent in the upcoming comic book adaptation, 2 Guns.

Mark Wahlberg is already onboard to co-headline 2 Guns, which reteams the actor with his Contraband director, Baltasar Kormákur. Financing for the lightweight action-thriller is currently being assembled, with Universal Pictures already committed to marketing and distributing the film in the U.S..

Steve Grant’s original 2 Guns comic book is a pulpy crime tale about two men named Trench and Steadman, who join forces in order to rob a bank that (they believe) is secretly a cover for mob money. However, the former doesn’t known his partner is an undercover Naval Intelligence officer, while Steadman is unaware that Trench is actually a DEA agent. More so, the pair are oblivious to the fact that they’ve actually been set up to steal $50 million from the CIA, rather than the Mafia.

The comically-convoluted and lightweight nature of the 2 Guns plot briefly attracted the interest of David O. Russell (who last teamed with Wahlberg on The Fighter) in 2011, but the writer-director ultimately passed on the project. Kormákur was thereafter hired on and is slated to work from the script draft penned by Law & Order: LA co-showrunner Blake Masters – who was originally reported to be designing 2 Guns as a 1980s-style ethnically-diverse buddy movie, in the vein of 48 Hrs. (hence, the pairing of Washington with Wahlberg).

Denzel Washington stars opposite Ryan Reynolds in ‘Safe House’

Wahlberg is more of an established action star than previous Washington co-stars – including, Ryan Reynolds in this week’s new release, Safe House – so 2 Guns should feature a main starring duo who’s on somewhat more even dramatic acting ground (a la Washington and Clive Owens in Inside Man) than previous Washington-led onscreen pairings, like that with Ethan Hawke in Training Day and Chris Pine in Unstoppable. Still gotta give Washington the acting edge over Wahlberg, of course, but still…

2 Guns should also be heavier on the action (rather than the comedy quotient) under Kormákur’s direction, than it would have been under Russell’s. The former’s first joint effort with Wahlberg, Contraband, is a pretty average heist film that Kormákur failed to elevate above its B-movie trappings. Hopefully, he’s learned a few lessons from that experience and will do better with 2 Guns. Having Washington onboard is already a step in the right direction.

Expect 2 Guns to make its way into theaters sometime in 2013.

Source: Deadline