Before 2008, I doubt many people would have known who Pierre Morel is. Some of you may have stumbled across the director’s 2004 kung fu/parkour mashup District B13 (because clearly what martial arts movies were lacking was more jumping by French people!), but he certainly wasn’t a household name.
Then Taken came out. Not only did Morel’s gritty blockbuster actioner change the course of the usually more drama-centric Liam Neeson’s career, it also changed the English language. It was now perfectly comprehensible to Neeson somebody in the face.
Now another veteran actor, also not really known for his action credentials, is hoping to add his name to the lexicon: Sean Penn.
THR is reporting that Penn will be taking the lead in Morel’s adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s The Prone Gunman. Manchette (which I believe is French for “man with a big f–king knife”) was a very popular French crime novelist, credited with reinventing the genre in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Before passing away in 1995, he wrote 10 novels in his native tongue, only three of which was translated into English. One of those was The Prone Gunman, which eventually received an international English publication in 2002. Here’s the blurb for that release:
Martin Terrier is a hired killer who wants out of the game — so he can settle down and marry his childhood sweetheart. After all, that’s why he took up this profession! Martin returns to his hometown to claim her, but the Organization won’t let him go. Once again, the gunman must assume the prone shooting position.
A tour de force, this violent tale shatters as many illusions about life and politics as it does bodies.
Now I could be wrong (which according to my wife, is a rather regular occurrence), but this would be the first straight up action movie (though Gangster Squad comes pretty close) that Penn has ever starred in. Could he be repeating Neeson’s feat and reinventing himself as an action hero in his old age?
Holy muscular Jesus, Batman! Why do I get the feeling that it’s not too long before he gets a certain “expendable” call from Sylvester Stallone?