It’s been nearly two years since Universal announced plans to bring James Sallis’ novel Drive to the big screen with Hugh Jackman in the starring role. Time has taken its toll on the project, but hasn’t dissolved it completely. The adaptation is still on, but will now star Ryan Gosling and trade Neil Marshall for writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn.

In an interview with Empire (via First Showing), Nicolas Winding Refn revealed, “Hopefully next is a movie with Ryan Gosling at a studio in America. It's called Drive, and it's about a stuntman by day, a getaway driver by night.” Refn is the man behind Bronson and is gearing up for his film Valhalla Rising to get some screen time courtesy of IFC Films. He’s also the man handling Jekyll starring Keanu Reeves, has a modern Western called Only God Forgives and an untitled heist film with producer Gore Verbinsky on his plate. Apparently the guy’s got some ability that’s high in demand. He did say Drive is likely to be next on his agenda, so those other films will have to wait to get the Refn touch.

As for the actor swap, it’s difficult to form an opinion without reading the book. According to Amazon “the story explores Driver’s near-existential moral foundations while revisiting its root cause: his hardscrabble, troubled childhood,” so Gosling will be working with some potentially dark material. Jackman is always a safe bet, but Gosling generally performs well too. He can clearly handle the book’s dramatic elements, but can Gosling pull off an action sequence?

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