John McTiernan has delivered such action classics as Die Hard, Predator and The Hunt for Red October, although he hasn’t directed a film since 2003’s Basic (let’s forgive him for that one, shall we?). Now it appears McTiernan is getting back into the swing of things with Shrapnel, a new action-thriller which he’s just signed on to direct.
Variety reports on Shrapnel, which was written by Evan Daugherty, whose script ended up on the Black List back in 2008 (a list of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood). The story, “revolves around two war veterans who hunt each other in a deadly game of cat and mouse.”
Why exactly they’re hunting each other is unknown at this point, although I’m guessing it’s either because of a grudge held for something that happened during the war (not sure which war) or they get their thrills from playing a sort of deadly game. Either way, I’m liking the sound of the project already, and even more so because McTiernan is going to be directing. Although, I must admit that Shrapnel does sound a bit like the 2003 film The Hunted, in which Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro played two ex-special forces vets who play a deadly game of cat and mouse with one another.
McTiernan doesn’t exactly have an immaculate filmmaking record, with Basic and Rollerball coming to mind as a couple of his bad days at the office. But films like Die Hard and Predator are iconic blueprints for action movies of today so I’ll always give whatever he directs a chance.
Although McTiernan has committed to Shrapnel there’s just one snag that could mess this up: he is due in court on October 4th, “after pleading guilty in July to making false statements to law enforcement officials when he was questioned during the investigation of Hollywood private detective Anthony Pellicano.” It’s unclear how much of an impact the legal binds would have on Shrapnel if McTiernan was sentenced (would the movie get made with a different director?).
Legalities aside, things are sounding positive on other fronts. FilmEngine CEO Anthony Rhulen said of the project:
“From the first time we read Evan’s script, we believed we had the makings of a hit action film. With John McTiernan involved, the financing fell into place, and we expect to announce casting very soon.”
With McTiernan involved I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear of some pretty well-known names becoming attached to Shrapnel. It sounds like the story depends on the dynamic between the two war veterans, so they can’t pick just any two actors without making sure they work believably as two “enemies” hunting each other down.
On top of Shrapnel, McTiernan also has The Camel Wars, Deadly Exchange and The Chase all in different stages of development.