Red is an upcoming action/thriller based on the comic book mini-series by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner and published by DC/Wildstorm between 2003-2004. Over the last six months the adaptation has garnered quite a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Mary Louise Parker, Julian McMahon, Ernest Borgnine, Richard Dreyfuss, Brian Cox and John C. Reilly. That's a very respectable set of actors I think you'll agree.
Today comes the news of a shift in casting - THR's Heat Vision Blog reports that John Malkovich has replaced John C. Reilly. Reilly apparently left the project last month for unknown reasons (I'm sure we'll hear word of why pretty soon).
In what could be looked at as an extension of his role in the Coen brother's Burn After Reading, Malkovich will play an ex-CIA agent who is erratic and paranoid that everyone is out to kill him. His character teams up with Bruce Willis' retired black-ops agent to find out who wants them both dead. Willis' character has to contend with younger high-tech assassins who show up to wipe him out.
This news follows the recent apparent confirmation on Malkovich's part that he'll be playing the Vulture in Spider-Man 4. If that's true, Spidey and now Red only adds to his busy schedule, with him appearing in the upcoming Jonah Hex (which he'll be heading back to do reshoots for this month), the Disney film Secretriat and another four projects listed on his IMDB page as being in development.
We can only speculate at this point in time the reason for Reilly's departure, and as I said above we're sure to hear an explanation at some point. I personally was looking forward to seeing him in the role, since he's been flexing his comedic muscles over the last few years and people have forgotten he's a genuinely talented dramatic actor, too (he was particularly good in P.T. Anderson's Magnolia back in 1999). Having said that, getting someone like Malkovich to take his place is hardly something to complain about.
For a breakdown of who the each of the impressive Red cast members will be portraying you can read our previous casting post.
Red is set to start principal photography this week in Toronto, and is scheduled to hit theaters on October 22nd, 2010.