This Michael Keaton career renaissance is one of the best stories to come out of Hollywood in some time. After starring in two consecutive Best Picture winners (Spotlight and Birdman), and collecting a Best Actor nomination (he should have won) along the way, Keaton isn’t slowing down any time soon.
Deadline reports Keaton has agreed to star in American Assassin, Michael Cuesta’s upcoming thriller about a badass Cold War vet who teaches greenhorns about the art of war. Keaton will play said Cold War badass, Stan Hurley, replacing Bruce Willis. Which, as crazy as it sounds, is probably the best news for the film. Willis has devolved into VOD action fodder in recent years and built a rather sizable reputation as a tyrannical prick on set, so Keaton taking over should smooth the road for Cuesta and probably result in a better film.
Cuesta (Kill The Messenger) had this to say about Michael Keaton joining the project:
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… 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.
Nobody else has joined American Assassin at this point, but consider the wild notion that Michael Keaton’s name attached to a project should now draw the interest of top tier talent in 2016. This is the guy, one of my personal favorites, who stumbled through films like Jack Frost and White Noise for years (back off of Desperate Measures though) before he finally found his footing again in 2014. And on top of his career turnaround, where his talent has been able to truly shine, it seems Keaton is a genuinely good dude.
This Keaton-aissance is simply wonderful, and here’s hoping for another rousing success with American Assassin.