Universal has attached director Pierre Morel (District B13, Taken) to helm the action-thriller, Pursuit. The film is based on the life of "conflict photographer" Jason Howe, who fell in love with a woman while he was on assignment in Columbia, only to discover she was a death squad assassin (and you think YOU'VE had bad relationships).
Rights to Howe's life story have been acquired for the project, and the studio is currently looking for a screenwriter.
Captivate Entertainment's Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith will produce Pursuit, hoping the project will broaden their company's scope to include more action-thrillers in the same vein. The two currently control the rights (via Captivate) to the library of Robert Ludlum (author of the Bourne series) thrillers, so if Pursuit is successful I wouldn't be surprised if other Ludlum adaptations make their way to the big-screen.
Morel's attachment as director of Pursuit isn't simply because of the success he had with the Liam Neeson thriller Taken. It's also because he's a lifelong photographer (he was a camera operator and cinematographer for years before he became a director), who was inspired by Jason Howe's work and thinks his real-life love/ethical dilemma is good basis for a fictionalized thriller.
As Morel told Variety:
Aside from the d.p. and camerawork, I have been shooting still photography since I was a kid and have been fascinated by the reportage in war zones... If I'd been courageous enough, I might have done that myself. There is the sentimental side of a man in love, and a journalist trying not to become involved in the story he is covering.
There's no word on how fast Universal will want to get Pursuit into production, but as far as Morel goes, he'll be pretty busy for awhile. He's currently in post-production on his John Travolta thriller, From Paris With Love and is attached to an untitled Tokyo thriller for Paramount about a CIA Agent on the cusp of retirement, only to become tied up in an international conspiracy while on his last job. On top of that CIA flick, Morel is currently hard at work with producing pal Luc Besson on a sequel to the surprise hit thriller, Taken.
I personally think Pursuit is a really interesting idea for a movie. I'm not all that familiar with the work of Jason Howe (you can check out some of his photos here), but learning that he fell in love with someone who was a death squad assassin certainly has my interest piqued (check out this article about it from The Independant).
But will Pursuit mostly focus on Howe's strange love affair? I would think so. There's also a lot of interesting, compelling stuff to explore about Howe himself - after all, his work as a combat photographer means he is a man who is constantly drawn (attracted?) to very real and dangerous situations.
Do you agree that the idea behind Pursuit sounds interesting? Considering Pierre Morel's past work, what do you think the movie will end up like?
No release date has yet been talked about for Pursuit.
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