I would never have guessed that Sean Penn would someday lead an action blockbuster, let alone hope that it turns into a franchise. He’s just not that kind of actor with those particular motivations. However, after learning more about Pierre Morel’s The Gunman, this may not be your run-of-the-mill actioner.
You might also roll your eyes at the thought of yet another older actor, joining the likes of Liam Neeson and Sylvester Stallone, attempting resurgence by trying his hand (or fist) at the action genre. Some have had greater success than others. In The Gunman, Sean Penn plays Jim Terrier, a former solider and military contractor who now lives a peaceful life working for a non-governmental organization in the Congo. Though life may simpler now, he soon realizes (as the film kicks off), that he may not be able to escape the past so easily.
Pierre Morel (Taken, From Paris With Love) will be directing a screenplay written by Pete Travis (Dredd, Vantage Point), who adapted the story from Jean-Patrick Manchette’s novel, “The Prone Gunman”. At first blush, the plot is nothing new, but according to Penn, “Calling it an ‘action film’ is kind of like calling Meryl Streep a sexy blonde chick. She is. But that really doesn’t tell the story of what she is at all. It’s a very human story that deals with the same things exploited in action films, like warfare.”
No official release date has yet been set. The film also stars Idris Elba, Ray Winstone & Javier Bardem.
A deadly professional assassin prized for his aim and reflexes, Martin Terrier returns to Paris after his latest job determined to get out of the game. Ten years ago he made a promise to return to his childhood sweetheart in the south of France, and he wants to get married and settle down. But his employers have other plans. A key target – an Arab oil magnate – is flying in to Paris, and there is only one man fit for the task of eliminating him. As Martin is tailed southwards, it appears his employers will stop at nothing to regain his service. In a style ruthlessly stripped of all sentiment, Jean-Patrick Manchette delivers a masterclass in lean, muscular storytelling. Each moment in the suspense plot is described in forensic detail, and violent shocks are executed with unflinching accuracy. Perhaps most compelling are the tantalising glimpses ? betrayed by the barest physical ticks ? that Manchette offers us into the otherwise inscrutable inner life of his protagonist, the prone gunman.