Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn has entered talks to direct Button Man, an adaptation of Button Man: The Killing Game, the violent 2000AD comic strip by John Wagner and Arthur Ranson. The film, based at DreamWorks, was written by Hilary Seitz and once had Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star.
Button Man follows Harry Exton, a contract killer who fights in an underground sport with other hired killers. Each killer works for a ‘Voice,’ a wealthy (but unknown) man who controls part of the game. The aim is simple – kill the other players or take the first three joints of their finger. When they lose three fingers, they’re killed. But when Harry tries to leave the lucrative game, he discovers that it is much more difficult than he anticipated.
We first caught wind of Button Man in 2009, but since then news on the film has been quiet. However, the project now has a trio of producers (Roger Kass, Josh Braun and Michael De Luca) attached, so it seems to be moving along the development conveyor belt.
Nicolas Winding Refn is a director well-suited to the material; it’s dark, brutal and very violent, and it would seem to inhabit the same ambiguous world as Drive. It remains to be seen if Refn will direct the film (no deal has been made), as he’s currently finishing up Only God Forgives and has a remake of Logan’s Run on the way - both with Drive star Ryan Gosling. However, I’d imagine that the long gestating Logan’s Run may drop out of the director’s line of vision, only because it has been in development for an eternity.
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Ryan Gosling would be perfect in the the role of Harry Exton (even if the original tale was set in England) and Refn’s attachment would certainly make Gosling the obvious choice to star - but remember that Leonardo DiCaprio was once interested in Button Man. When the project was first announced in 2009, I wrote:
“It’s a dark and gritty story that could make for a very textured and tense film – that is, if the right director is hired. Considering the sort of A-list directors that DiCaprio works with, don’t be too surprised if a big shot helmer is brought on board rather than a gun for hire”.
Nicolas Winding Refn is just that sort of director, and while Gosling may be a newly minted A-list star, he does not currently have the box office clout of DiCaprio. It should be noted that there is no cast onboard (yet), so this is all speculation. But if Refn does sign on the dotted line for Button Man, then you can read all the developments here at Screen Rant.