Javier Bardem is a powerhouse actor. He has screen presence like few others do, and is a benefit to any project that he takes on. So what I'm trying to say is that both upcoming projects The Gunman and A Most Violent Year just got an upgrade. Deadline reports that the Oscar-winning star for No Country For Old Men has landed key roles in both films, which are being directed by Pierre Morel and J.C. Chandor, respectively.

Originally called Prone Gunman, The Gunman is a new action film that already has Sean Penn attached to star. Based on the novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette, the story follows an international operative who is betrayed by his handlers and sent on the run. Unfortunately, the site doesn't have any details about the character that Bardem will play, though it does suggest that he will play the villain, saying that he will "go mano a mano with" Penn. Morel is best known for directing 2008's Taken and last helmed 2010's From Paris With Love.

As for A Most Violent Year, Bardem is actually the first actor cast. Based on an original screenplay by Chandor, who broke out in 2011 with the financial thriller Margin Call, the new film will have the Spanish star playing a hero, but no plot description is currently available. Production is scheduled to start in Manhattan this fall, so prepare to hear a few more casting stories in the coming weeks.

Bardem, meanwhile, will next be seen in Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy's The Counselor, which will be in theaters on November 15th and co-stars Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Dean Norris, and John Leguizamo.

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