Dylan O’Brien in Talks to Star With Michael Keaton in ‘American Assassin’

Dylan O’Brien is in negotiations to star alongside Michael Keaton in CBS Films’ “American Assassin,” which Lionsgate is shopping to foreign buyers in Cannes this week.

O’Brien, who is best known for his role in “The Maze Runner,” will play the title character (Mitch Rapp) in the project, which is being directed by “Kill the Messenger” helmer Michael Cuesta, from a screenplay penned Stephen Schiff. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler are producing the pic.

Based on Vince Flynn’s novel, “American Assassin” follows a Cold War veteran (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, his deputy director tasks him with training a black ops recruit (O’Brien) 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.

CBS Films and Lionsgate are co-financing the project, which begins lensing this summer.

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.

O’Brien is repped by WME and Principal Entertainment.

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