Michael B. Jordan signs on to play the assassin Columbus in a big-screen adaptation of the novel The Silver Bear. Jordan is now firmly established as one of his generation's brightest actors, due in large part to his frequent collaborations with director Ryan Coogler. The two joined forces to revive the dormant Rocky franchise with 2015's Creed (the sequel to which opens next month) and helped the Marvel Cinematic Universe reach new heights with Black Panther. Jordan's performance as Erik Killmonger received widespread praise and he's considered a possible nominee in this year's Best Supporting Actor race.
While Jordan obviously works very well with Coogler, he's also keen on broadening his horizons and taking on a variety of other projects. He's currently in the midst of filming the courtroom drama Just Mercy, and recently signed on to play Tom Clancy hero John Clark in a new film series. Clark isn't the only action-based character Jordan has his eyes on, and he may have found himself another new franchise.
Deadline reports Jordan will star in and produce The Silver Bear, which is based on Derek Haas' book of the same name. The Godmother's Frank Baldwin wrote the script. As of now, no director is attached to the film. The Silver Bear tells the story of Columbus, a ruthless assassin who never fails (hence, the term Silver Bear), but is forced into a difficult scenario when he's assigned to kill the Speaker of the House - Columbus' father.
The Silver Bear spawned three sequels, so it's clear distributor Lionsgate is interested in making this a full-fledged franchise for Jordan to develop. It shouldn't be surprising the studio snagged the rights, as it's easy to draw comparisons between The Silver Bear and Lionsgate's own John Wick series, which is (likely) coming to a close - at least on the big screen - with the release of John Wick 3 next summer. Hopefully for all parties involved, The Silver Bear is just as successful as Keanu Reeves' comeback vehicle, giving audiences a new conflicted hitman to become invested in over a period of time. Jordan certainly has the chops - in both drama and action - to craft a compelling protagonist.
How The Silver Bear shapes up will depend in large part on the filmmaker Lionsgate brings in to call the shots. For these types of movies, execution is key; for every John Wick, there's a Peppermint. It would be unfortunate if The Silver Bear is nothing more than another piece of generic genre fare that leaves no lasting impression. In recent years, Jordan has been smart about choosing his roles and the people he works with, so ideally this will be another winner for him.