King of Heists is the latest upcoming project that will star multiple Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner – who already has four potential blockbusters lined up to hit theaters over the next year alone.
Meanwhile, Steven Spielberg isn’t done recruiting acclaimed thespians to star in his Lincoln biopic just yet – and the latest addition to the cast is Jackie Early Haley, who will portray an important member of the Confederacy in Spielberg’s historical drama.
King of Heists
Deadline has learned that Renner will get back to robbing banks (onscreen) by headlining King of Heists, an adaptation of J. North Conway’s non-fiction book, “King of Heists: The Sensational Bank Robbery of 1878 That Shocked America.” Video game scriber Will Staples (Pursuit Force, Lair) is set to pen the screenplay.
Here is how Publishers Weekly describes Conway’s book:
The central figure is architect George Leslie, who was 27 when he arrived in Manhattan in 1869 seeking success and adventure. With impeccable manners and good looks, Leslie led a double life, inserting himself into the Gilded Age city’s most elite circles, while assembling a gang of the cleverest criminals in New York City’s underworld to carry out a series of bank robberies. His biggest was the October 27, 1878, theft from the Manhattan Savings Institution of some $3 million in cash and securities (the equivalent of $50 million today).
Renner is a consistently engaging performer, but his forte seems to be playing the hard-edged/fearless type (see: his turns in The Hurt Locker and The Town). While that makes him a nice fit to play Hawkeye in The Avengers – or an unstoppable assassin in The Bourne Legacy – it doesn’t seem like Renner would work as well, portraying a charismatic trickster such as George Leslie.
Between his roles in those aforementioned upcoming titles – along with the action flicks Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters – it could be fun to see Renner tread on some untested territory (re: not play a deadly warrior). So we’ll see if the actor can make Leslie a memorable addition to the long list of previous charming criminal types that have graced the big screen.
Jackie Earle Haley may have started his career playing directionless young men (or boys) in films like The Bad News Bears and Breaking Away – but to the younger generation, he’s an Oscar-nominated actor who excels at playing creepy characters (see: his roles in Little Children, Watchmen, Shutter Island, and A Nightmare on Elm Street).
Haley will play a different breed of unscrupulous man in Spielberg’s Lincoln. Deadline says the actor has signed on to portray Alexander Stephens – the vice president of the Confederate States during the Civil War – and will join the production once he completes his work on Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows movie.
Lincoln features the sort of dream cast that only someone of Spielberg’s pedigree could bring together: Daniel-Day Lewis as Honest Abe, Sally Field as his wife Mary Todd, Tommy Lee Jones as General Thaddeus “The Great Commoner” Stevens, David Strathairn as Lincoln’s secretary of state, William Seward, and over a dozen additional highly-respected character actors. Expect the film to likewise boast some fantastic production values – and recreate the 19th century U.S. setting with impeccable attention to historically-accurate detail.
Yet another thing that bodes well for Lincoln is that the film won’t attempt to encompass the entirety of its subject’s life – rather, it will focus specifically on the final four months. Seeing how many a previous biographical picture has faltered from trying to cover too much history – without enough depth – that’s definitely a wise decision on Spielberg and his creative team’s part.
We will keep you posted on the status of King of Heists as more information is released.
Lincoln is expected to reach theaters no later than December 2012 – though we will be sure to let you know when an official release date has been set.