It appears we live in a world where every aging actor eventually gets reborn as a grizzled, badass action star. Liam Neeson has the Taken movies, Pierce Brosnan is still playing the ass-kicking international spy, and even Salma Hayek (who, granted, is only 48) got to blast the hell out of everyone in Everly. For the record, I am totally on board with this trend, I love a good grim tough-guy/girl film, and it looks like the latest addition to this train is Sean Penn, as you can clearly see in this trailer for The Gunman.
This new look at the upcoming actioner definitely has a strong Taken vibe (nefarious forces kidnap Penn’s character’s wife, and it’s directed by Pierre Morel, the Luc Besson protégé who helmed Taken, so…). But while it looks like something you’ve seen before, The Gunman could wind up being at least slightly different. It’s based on Jean-Patrick Manchette’s novel, The Prone Gunman, which was published, at least in English, by legendary indie press City Lights Books, which you don’t normally associate with this type of bang-bang, shoot-em-up fare. We’ll have to wait and see what sets this apart, but for now, here’s a synopsis of the book:
Martin Terrier [the protagonist’s name has been changed to Jim Terrier in the film] is a hired killer who wants out of the game so he can settle down and marry his childhood sweetheart. 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.
The Gunman also has a great cast in place. In addition to Penn, the film stars Idris Elba, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, Jasmine Trinca, and Mark Rylance, and opens wide March 20. Check out the trailer below.