Michael Bay is a director who is more commonly associated with big-scale blockbuster spectacle like Transformers than military thrillers in the vein of Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty, but Bay is going to try his hand at the latter kind of film for his Age of Extinction followup, titled 13 Hours. Based on Michael Zuckoff's book, "13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi", the movie will revolve around the 2012 terrorist attack on the United State's special missions compound that's located in Benghazi.
After the filmmaker entered talks to helm the movie a few months ago, there hasn't been much word on its development, but now the cast is starting to round into shape. The Office star John Krasinski has entered talks to portray a Navy SEAL in the film; and should he sign on, Krasinski will serve as one of the project's leads.
The report comes courtesy of Variety, whose sources said that Krasinski "blew Bay away" during a casting meeting, which has obviously led to Bay wanting to get the thespian in his film. Currently, there's no word on who Kraskinski's prospective co-stars might be, but Variety also notes that character actors such as Walton Goggins (Django Unchained) and Shea Whigham (Silver Linings Playbook) have been reading for parts as well.
At first blush, Krasinski may seem like an odd choice to headline a drama such as this, since many viewers see him more as a comedic performer, but his talents go beyond that. His time on the movie screen has featured more subdued turns in smaller films such as Promised Land and Away We Go, and he even has experience in war dramas thanks to his performance in 2005's Jarhead. So Krasinski may not be so out of place as one might think - he can handle drama.
The larger issue most moviegoers are going to have with 13 Hours is the involvement of Bay as a director. Few can deny that he has an eye for visuals and action, but several believe that comes at the expense of logical and coherent storytelling. Bay previously tried to expand his horizons with Pain & Gain a couple of years ago, and it was criticized for relying on many of the "Bayisms" audiences are accustomed - and thus, seen by many as a wasted opportunity that would have been more interesting had a different helmsman called the shots (read our review, for case in point).
One could make the same argument in this case, as a couple of names who are perhaps better suited for this subject matter easily come to mind (Bigelow, Paul Greengrass, etc.). However, there's always hope that 13 Hours could mark a career turnaround for Bay, since Krasinski typically favors more intimate work than Bay's typical output and the director is having readings with actors known for their roles in Best Picture nominees. Perhaps there's more here than meets the eye?
Right now, it's unknown when Bay is hoping to begin production, but since he's in the early stages of casting, we would have to guess it's soon. Normally this is where we'd say 13 Hours could become an Oscar contender for Paramount with the pedigree of the narrative, but for now we'll just cross our fingers that Bay can make a competent film and do the material justice.
We'll keep you updated on 13 Hours as more information becomes available.