Michael Keaton American Assassin
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Michael Keaton will star in CBS Films and Lionsgate’s adaptation of the classic novel series “American Assassin.”

“Kill the Messenger” helmer Michael Cuesta will direct the thriller from a screenplay by Stephen Schiff. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler are producing the film.

Based on Vince Flynn’s novel, the movie follows Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Keaton), who would be the most feared training officer in the CIA if more than a handful of people at the agency actually knew of his existence. As the story begins, Hurley’s deputy director tasks him with training a black ops recruit devastated by the loss of his fiancée to a terrorist attack. The pair is eventually dispatched on a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent to stop a mysterious operative from starting World War III in the Middle East.

Published by Atria Books and in paperback by Pocket Books, both imprints of Simon & Schuster, “American Assassin” is one of 14 novels set in the world of counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp. Each has been a New York Times bestseller, while the three most recent entries have been No. 1 on the New York Times charts. The series has sold nearly 20 million copies to date.

“Stan Hurley is one of the pillars of the Vince Flynn universe and a favorite character for millions of readers, so casting him was a daunting challenge,” said Cuesta. “To have an actor as intelligent and gifted as Michael Keaton bring this beloved character to life is a thrill for everyone involved in ‘American Assassin’ and a cause for celebration amongst Hurley fans the world over.”

Keaton has stuck to prestige pics as of late with both “Birdman” and “Spotlight” winning the last two best picture Oscars. While “American Assassin” is a more commercial movie, his next pic, “The Founder,” which follows the rise of McDonald’s mogul Ray Croc, is expected to be an awards season contender.

Keaton is represented by ICM Partners, Anonymous Content and Wendy Kirk at Ziffren Brittenham.

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