Filmmaker Pablo Larraín (of Jackie fame) has been set to helm the true story-based drama The True American, with Tom Hardy attached to star. Hardy has been attached to the project for a few years now, going back to when Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow was lined up to direct the film. Bigelow has since moved on to other projects (namely, her still-untitled movie about the 1967 Detroit riots), but Annapurna Pictures – the production company behind Bigelow’s own Zero Dark Thirty, as well as such recent awards season contenders as Foxcatcher, Her and 20th Century Women – is now looking to get the ball rolling on True American again.
The True American is based on Anand Giridharadas’ non-fiction 2014 book “The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas” and takes place in Texas not too long after the 9/11 terrorist attacks; as Rais Bhuiyan – a Muslim immigrant and Bangladesh Air Force veteran – barely escapes a killing spree that leaves two other immigrants dead, at the hands of self-proclaimed “Arab-slayer” Mark Stroman (Hardy’s potential role). Bhuiyan then decides to work to save his would-be murder from being executed, via the Death Penalty.
Deadline is confirming that Larraín is now set to direct The True American, with Bigelow producing and Hardy still tentatively attached to costar. As reported by Tracking Board, Riz Ahmed – who properly broke out as an actor in 2016 thanks to his roles in HBO’s The Night Of miniseries and the spinoff film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – was once lined up to play Rais Bhuiyan in the movie, but it’s not clear if that remains the case; nor is Hardy’s involvement a sure-thing right now.
Larraín became a better-known name among cinephiles in 2016, thanks to the Chilean filmmaker’s efforts on a pair of critically-acclaimed memoirs/biopics: Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as former first lady Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, and Neruda, starring Luis Gnecco as Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda. Both Jackie and Neruda were generally praised for putting unconventional and unique spins on the biopic movie formula, in terms of their narrative structure in particular. As such, the prospect of Larraín tackling another politically-charged drama based on real world events in The True American, sounds great on paper.
As for the cast of The True American: as promising as having Ahmed and Hardy in the aforementioned roles would be, it may depend on whether any and all scheduling issues can be ironed out. Ahmed, who also appeared in Netflix’s cult hit TV series The OA and the sequel Jason Bourne last year, has a relatively open schedule right now. Hardy, however, might wind up having to pass on The True American depending on how things shake out, given the number of projects already on his to-do list in the foreseeable future. That list includes J.C. Chandor’s action/adventure Triple Frontier and season 2 of FX’s TV period drama Taboo, which Hardy co-created.
We will bring you more details on The True American as they become available.