Last month we shared the news that actor/writer/director Tyler Perry had replaced Idris Elba as author James Patterson’s famed detective Alex Cross in the upcoming film I, Alex Cross. To say the reaction was mixed would be a polite understatement. Maybe fans will feel better when they hear about Perry’s co-stars.
According to Deadline, actors Matthew Fox (Lost) and Ed Burns (Saving Private Ryan) have joined the cast of I, Alex Cross in two important roles. Fox will be playing the primary villain in the movie, Michael Sullivan, aka the Butcher of Sligo. Burns will play Tommy Kane, Cross’ partner.
Fans of James Patterson’s Alex Cross novels will recognize the Michael Sullivan character right away (though I won’t say why for fear of spoilers). He is historically one of Cross’ most ruthless and memorable enemies.
While Fox is best known for being the hero Jack Shephard in Lost, this role in I, Alex Cross will give the actor a chance to flex his acting talents and play a cold-blooded hitman. It will be interesting to see whether Fox is up to the challenge. As for Ed Burns, well, you can’t ask for a much more dependable second-banana. I always like Ed Burns in movies, even though he typically has smaller roles, and I’m hopeful he does well again here.
Although the name of the movie is I, Alex Cross, the inclusion of Sullivan as a villain leads me to believe that the movie will not be based directly on the I, Alex Cross novel, but rather on Patterson’s 2006 novel Cross, which features a prominent flashback to Alex Cross’ early days. Given that this is supposed to be a reboot of the Alex Cross franchise (which previously featured Morgan Freeman as the famed detective), Cross would make more sense as the basis for the plot.
According to Deadline, “at least three studios are vying for the project and a domestic distribution deal will be set imminently.” Frankly, I’m not holding out super high hopes for this film. I have tons of respect for Tyler Perry and the mini-empire he’s been able to build with his popular series of films and television series, but I was extremely excited by the prospect of Idris Elba playing Alex Cross.
Factor in the news that Rob Cohen (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor) has taken over directing duties from David Twohy (Pitch Black) and it seems like the project will be less of a stylish suspense film and more of a large-scale action movie, which doesn’t seem in keeping with Patterson’s novels.