Sam Worthington's Assassin Thriller For The Dogs Finds A New Director

By Eric Eisenberg 2013-08-27 22:23:57discussion comments
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Director Jonathan Mostow has had a bit of trouble picking up projects in recent years. Since making his debut directing one of the segments of 1985's horror anthology Fright Show, he has since made films like U-571 and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, but hasn't made a feature since 2009's Surrogates with Bruce Willis. It appears that his fortunes are changing, however, as he has just picked up his latest feature. Variety has learned that Mostow has been tapped to replace Phillip Noyce on the upcoming indie action-thriller For The Dogs, which is set to star Sam Worthington.

Based on the novel by Kevin Wignall and adapted by Rampart director Oren Moverman, the story follows a man named Stephen Lucas (Worthington), a recently retired hit man who is used to living a life of solitude. He is called out of hiding when an old friend in London hires him to keep an eye on his smart, college-aged daughter Ella while she is vacationing in Italy with her boyfriend. While working the job Ella's entire family is murdered, but Stephen is able to save her life. The protagonist then reluctantly agrees to help Ella take revenge on the people responsible for the death of her parents and her younger brother.

According to the trade, production on the film is looking to start up this fall, which could explain why Noyce was no longer able to take on the project. The Australian filmmaker is currently hard at work putting together his adaptation of Lois Lowry's award-winning dystopian novel The Giver, which has been building an impressive cast that already includes Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and Alexander Skarsgard. No production start date has been announced for The Giver yet, but given where they are in the casting stage one can guess that its schedule may have interfered with For The Dogs' plans.

While Variety confirms that Worthington is set to star in the new thriller, what's more interesting is the name they don't mention: Hailee Steinfeld. The Academy Award-nominated True Grit star reportedly signed on to the project back in May, but the trade's write-up doesn't mention if she is still attached. If she is indeed no longer part of the project then Mostow is going to have one hell of a time replacing her, as there are few young actresses that have shown to be as gifted as Steinfeld.

While Noyce certainly has a spotty record of his own, Mostow's filmmography doesn't really inspire too much confidence in this project. When Surrogates came out a few years ago it was not only critically panned but was also a fairly big box office bomb, making only $38 million during its domestic run on an $80 million budget. The flub explains why we haven't seen much from him in the last four years, but perhaps now he has something to prove and will give For The Dogs everything he's got.
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