By the time we reach the end of 2012, most moviegoers will know all too well who Liam Hemsworth is. The younger brother of Thor (a.k.a. actor Chris Hemsworth) will first appear as Gale Hawthorne in this spring's The Hunger Games; later this summer, he'll also star alongside innumerable action movie icons in The Expendables 2.
Speaking of beefy, big-name action stars: Dwayne "Don't Call Him The Rock" Johnson is in talks to star alongside Hemsworth (who is already pretty much a lock) in a new indie thriller that was formerly titled The Sentry Keep - but has now been re-dubbed Empire State.
Deadline has the scoop on Hemsworth being set for Empire State and Johnson having begun negotiations to join the cast. The latter, as it were, also seems poised for a pretty financially-lucrative year in 2012, between his starring roles in the kid-friendly Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and G.I Joe: Retaliation. Johnson has also been rumored to appear alongside Hemsworth in the upcoming Arabian Nights, where the two would portray Sinbad and Ali Baba, respectively (take all that as you will).
The plot of Empire State is based on a real-life event in 1982 where $11 million was stolen from the offices of the Sentry Armored Car Courier Company in New York. It was then believed to be the largest armored car robbery ever committed, but authorities have since then claimed that a good chunk of the money had been embezzled in advance. How exactly Empire State screenwriter Adam Mazer (Breach) has chosen to rework this basic setup, remains to be seen.
Empire State will be helmed by Dito Montiel, who started off his writing/directing career on a higher note (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) in 2006, but saw his subsequent directing efforts, like Fighting and The Son of No One, open to neither box office nor critical fanfare - despite featuring some pretty decent acting talent like Terrence Howard, Al Pacino, and Ray Liotta, among others. So, Montiel's involvement with Empire State reads as somewhat of a mixed blessing.
Still, Johnson has quite the likable and enjoyable screen presence. Couple that with a young star like Hemsworth - who's impressing somebody, judging by all the roles he keeps landing - and a solid script writer like Mazer, and that's reason enough to think that Empire State could prove to be a worthy endeavor.
Principal photography on Empire State is expected to begin by April 2012. We will keep you posted on all additional noteworthy developments, in the meantime.