Brian De Palma Exits Thriller The Key Man

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Brian De Palma has been attached to Open Road Films’ thriller The Key Man for nearly a year now, but a new story hitting the wire today points toward a possible replacement because the Scarface director appears to have moved on.

Oskar Thor Axelsson, who helmed Black’s Game, is now being looked at as a possible director for Key Man, which is being co-produced by QED International and Safehouse Pictures, according to Variety. The script is credited to Joby Harold, who recently co-wrote All You Need is Kill for director Doug Liman and Tom Cruise. Key Man is centered around a single father and a puzzle enthusiast who is pursued by our government because his body contains clues that people can use to decode extremely important government secrets.

But buried in the trade story lies the news that De Palma is off the project. (We linked him to the movie back in August 2011.) At the time, Open Road had revealed plans for a wide release for the film, and even without De Palma’s name pushing it, the distributors still plan to commit to what the trade calls “a significant P&A spend.”

While it’s disappointing to hear that De Palma’s moving on, we remain interested because Axelsson studied under Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, who executive-produced Black’s Game. Axelsson’s credits include a series of short films and the feature-length Game. The premise behind Key Man sounds dicey. It could come off as relatively cheesy in the wrong hands. But if Axelsson studied under Winding Refn, we’re more than willing to see if what he learned will translate to the big screen.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.