Action fans have been buzzing about plans to adapt Vince Flynn's renowned Mitch Rapp novel series for the screen since 2012. The franchise's first film, American Assassin, will follow Mitch Rapp as he is indoctrinated into the world of counterterrorism with the help of mentor Stan Hurley. Originally, Chris Hemsworth and Bruce Willis were in talks to play Rapp and Hurley, but we learned earlier this year that Dylan O'Brien and Michael Keaton would take on the key roles.
Since the O'Brien casting news this May, production companies CBS Films and Lionsgate have only had a few other casting notices, mentioning the addition of Taylor Kitsch, Shiva Negar, and Sanaa Lathan, to share with fans.
Earlier today, however, the film's official Twitter account released the first American Assassin production still, featuring O'Brien in action. The photo features a rugged O'Brien holding a gun and standing above a dead man, presumably a terrorist. A statement accompanying the photo also provided a more in-depth synopsis of the film:
"American Assassin follows the rise of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) a CIA black ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). The pair is then enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets. Together the three discover a pattern in the violence leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (Taylor Kitsch) intent on starting a World War in the Middle East."
It's fascinating to see O'Brien, who sports a considerably teenaged filmography, step into such an adult role. The baby-faced actor has played an adolescent in MTV's Teen Wolf, indie film The First Time, and all of the Maze Runner films. In fact, the actor must have quite a full schedule, given that he is about to restart principal photography on Maze Runner: The Death Cure following an injury on set.
Still, despite his resume, the 25-year-old actor seems right at home playing the 23-year-old Rapp. He caught the industry's attention with his awkward charm in The First Time, leading him to score lead roles in The Internship and the Maze Runner films, the latter of which have allowed him to showcase his action skills. Though it might seem like the ultra-ripped Hemsworth was a better fit for this intense role, it actually makes sense to cast someone like O'Brien as Rapp, given that the hero was just a regular post-grad before his recruitment to black ops. This image gives us hope that O'Brien will be able to do something interesting with the role, but we'll have to wait to see the film to really judge -- or at least wait until they release a trailer.
American Assassin is still in the early stages of production, and a release date is TBA.
Source: CBS Films/Lionsgate