Vince Flynn, bestselling author of the Mitch Rapp political thriller series of novels, died today after a long battle with prostate cancer, his rep ICM Partners said. He was 47. Flynn’s memorable Rapp character, an undercover CIA counter-terrorism agent, was the focus of 14 books including American Assassin, Kill Shot, Transfer Of Power, The Third Option, Separation Of Power, Executive Power, Memorial Day, Consent To Kill, Act Of Treason, Extreme Measures, Pursuit Of Honor and The Last Man. CBS Films optioned feature film rights to the Rapp character with the intention of making a character-based, action thriller movie franchise. It later offered $10M to Chris Hemsworth to star in the first pic in that deal, American Assassin, but Hemsworth passed because of scheduling issues.
EXCLUSIVE: After trying since 2008 to turn Vince Flynn’s bestselling novel series into an action franchise, CBS Films thinks it has found the actor to play terrorist hunter Mitch Rapp. I’m told that CBS Films has offered Chris Hemsworth $10 million to star in American Assassin.
While it is the 11th book in Flynn’s series of espionage novels, American Assassin is an ideal place to start a movie franchise. The novel is a prequel that explains how tragedy transformed Rapp from a college scholar and athlete into a ruthless hunter of terrorists for the CIA. Bruce Willis is also in talks, to play Rapp’s mentor. The film will be directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, who has covered the terrorist hunting terrain directing episodes of Showtime’s Homeland and also helming the Don Cheadle thriller Traitor. Nachmanoff also co-wrote with Roland Emmerich The Day After Tomorrow and helmed the pilot for the Dick Wolf-produced NBC series Chicago Fire.
The most recent script draft was written by Mike Finch, who took over a draft written by Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, when Zwick was going to direct. CBS Films Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler are producing.
Hemsworth is proving to be a go-to young guy for big ticket Hollywood fare, particularly after he was part of the blockbuster The Avengers and also Snow White And The Huntsman. He’s shooting a Thor sequel …
EXCLUSIVE: Ed Zwick is out and Jeffrey Nachmanoff is in as director of American Assassin, the adaptation of the Vince Flynn novel that CBS Films hopes will launch a film franchise based on CIA agent Mitch Rapp. Zwick came aboard last summer after CBS Films, which bought rights to Flynn’s novels several years ago, refocused its attention on American Assassin. While that is the 11th book in the series, it was a prequel that explained how tragedy transformed the protagonist from a college scholar and athlete into a ruthless hunter of terrorists for the CIA.
Nachmanoff previously directed the Don Cheadle espionage thriller Traitor, and co-wrote The Day After Tomorrow with Roland Emmerich. Nachmanoff most recently directed the Dick Wolf-produced NBC pilot Chicago Fire. Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz wrote the most recent draft of the script but exited because Zwick is directing The Great Wall possibly with Henry Cavill, and CBS Films didn’t want to wait.
CBS Films first acquired rights to Flynn’s popular book series in 2008, originally intended to start with Consent To Kill. That action-packed thriller contains several twists that change Rapp’s life permanently. CBS Films got as far as attaching Antoine Fuqua to direct and courting Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell and Lost’s Matthew Fox to play Rapp. They’ll go with a younger actor with this version. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler are producing. Nachmanoff is repped by …
EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films has acquired Flight 75, a pitch for a thriller that will be directed by The Grudge helmer Takashi Shimizu. Project was bought on a treatment by Shimizu and a writer will be set momentarily. It is described as a claustrophobic thriller set on a transpacific airliner where the passengers encounter what appears to be a supernatural force. Shimizu reteams with Grudge producer Taka Ichise, who’ll produce with The Ring‘s Roy Lee and Insidious‘ Steven Schneider. John Middleton is exec producer. Shimizu has been looking for the right fit for his next English-language project and this is expected to be it. They hope to get it mounted by the fall. It becomes another in a flurry of projects set up by CBS Films, which has Gambit in production with Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz; just put Ed Zwick on the Vince Flynn bestseller American Assassin; and an adaptation of the Marie Lu novel Legend, to be directed by Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies). ICM reps Shimizu.
EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films has redrawn its plans to launch a film franchise based on the Vince Flynn novel series about CIA agent and Mitch Rapp. Ed Zwick has come aboard to direct an adaptation of American Assassin, a bestseller published last fall by Atria. Though it was the 11th book in the Rapp series, American Assassin was a prequel that told the story of how, as a college scholar and athlete, tragedy forged Rapp’s path to become a ruthless hunter of terrorists for the CIA.
CBS Films, which first acquired the rights to Flynn’s popular book series in 2008, originally intended to start with Consent to Kill, an action-packed thriller that contains several twists that change Rapp’s life permanently. CBS Films got as far as attaching Antoine Fuqua to direct and courting Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell and Lost’s Matthew Fox to play Rapp.
Instead, Flynn’s prequel novel provided a way to start the series at the very beginning of Rapp’s covert career. That means they will tap the strong crop of young leading men, much the way that Paramount Pictures signed Chris Pine to re-launch its Jack Ryan series. Consent to Kill will come later.
Zwick is writing the script with partner Marshall Herskovitz, and they will join Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler as producers. Zwick last directed Love and Other Drugs, and Defiance and Blood Diamond before that.
“We were prepping Consent to Kill when Vince told us he was going …
At the Simon & Schuster division Atria Books, Emily Bestler has been promoted to editor and chief and senior vice president, and she has gotten her own imprint–Emily Bestler Books–which will debut this spring. She has been with S&S for 16 years and her authors include John Connolly, Vince Flynn, Jodi Picoult, Diane Setterfield, Sister Souljah, Brad Thor, Nicole Wallace and Liza Marklund. The imprint will publish fiction and non-fiction.
In Book Deals: New Regency Taps Swedish Crime Series ‘Three Seconds’, Struggling CBS Films Makes Stephen King’s ‘Stand’
The book-to-movie business is kicking back into gear. Hoping for another Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, New Regency has just acquired Three Seconds, part of a bestselling Swedish crime novel series by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom. Shine will produce and they will set a writer quickly. In Three Seconds, an ex-con who works undercover for the Stockholm police is charged with breaking the Polish mob’s stranglehold on amphetamine dealing in Sweden prisons. The ex-con gets himself arrested so he can infiltrate the mob in a maximum security prison. Beyond the fact his wife is unaware he’s working undercover, the operative’s challenge is to crack the ring and get out before he’s exposed. The book is the fifth novel in the series, was named Sweden’s top crime novel of 2009. The author team is intriguing, considering one’s a former journalist, the other an ex-criminal.The book was published by Silver Oak. Shine’s Sue Swift brought the book to Regency’s Michelle Kroes to get the deal started and Dan Wilson will oversee for Regency.
In other deals, a film option deal was made for Cutting For Stone, the Abraham Verghese novel optioned by Anonymous Content for its production company.
And Warner Bros and CBS Films will try to turn Stephen King’s celebrated novel The Stand into a feature. Given the spectacularly restrictive budgets that have forced CBS Films to rely on forgettable films like The Back-Up Plan and Extraordinary Measures, it seems likely Warner Bros will have to put up the dough for this to get off the ground. Even then, King’s apocalyptic epic will be very difficult to compress into a feature film, which is why it previously was turned into a 1994 TV miniseries. Each time I write about CBS Films, the question lingers: why did Les Moonves bother to form a feature division in the first place and hire away a capable exec like Amy Baer from Sony only to hobble her by not taking any big swings? Baer has a franchise percolating in Vince Flynn’s Consent to Kill, which focuses on ruthless government operative Mitch Rapp. It’s a Jack Ryan waiting to happen, but though CBS Films last year had discussions with Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell and Lost‘s Matthew Fox for the Rapp role, it still hasn’t happened. A lot has to do with the need to secure a partner. Hey, Les? In the movie business, it’s no guts, no glory. Deadline has heard that a “reconfiguring” is coming to the still struggling movie unit. CBS Films will make more acquisitions to fill the pipeline.