Rupert Friend, 32, will replace the late Paul Walker as the star of Aleksander Bach‘s film revival of the assassin video game franchise “Agent 47.” The Wrap first broke the news today about the “Homeland” star’s casting, which will have him taking over the role that was originated by Timothy Olyphant in Xavier Gens’ 2007 action film “Hitman.”
This latest instalment to the hit man franchise sees the return of screenwriter Skip Woods, who will collaborate with “Machete Kills” scribe Kyle Ward and Michael Finch of “Predators.” Although details are being kept hush regarding the forthcoming reboot, one can safely assume it will follow a similar narrative to the original film. “Hitman” told the tale of an orphan who was raised by an organization of assassins for hire, only to one day find himself becoming the number one target of both the agency and the Russian military.
Walker’s star power reportedly helped green light the film for a February 2014 start date. But due to the actor’s tragic death of a car accident back in November, production inevitably ceased to move forward. Without the actor’s “Fast and Furious” fan base to generate interest, it seemed unlikely to progress. However, a source assured Variety that with the success of the video game’s overseas popularity (It sold over 20 million units.) and the involvement of Fox International, 20th Century Fox was still “willing to give the film a shot even without a star like Walker.”
Prior to joining the massively acclaimed Showtime hit “Homeland,” Friend first made a name for himself in the world of film with roles in Laurence Dunmore’s 2004 drama “The Libertine” (which earned him a British Independent Film Award nomination for Most Promising Newcomer) and Joe Wright’s 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” He has since nabbed notable leading male roles such as Stephen Frears’ “Chéri” opposite Michelle Pfeiffer and Jean-Marc Vallée’s “The Young Victoria” with Emily Blunt. Next up, you can expect to see him return to the big screen in Alex Holdridge’s comedy “Meet Me in Montenegro.”