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Samuel L. Jackson is certainly no stranger to the role of a hitman, and now he's getting ready to do it all again. The big difference this time will be that instead of gasps, he'll be going for laughs. The Academy Award-nominated star has signed a deal that will see him starring in the new action comedy The Black Phantom, which already has Kevin Hart attached in a co-lead role.
According to Deadline, the role - which is actually the title part - previously belonged to Jamie Foxx. Unfortunately, Foxx was unable to keep his commitment due to a scheduling conflict, but his departure is what opened the door for Jackson. Based on an original screenplay by Dave Lease and Megan Hinds, the comedy will see Kevin Hart playing a hitman who has to go on the run when he is double-crossed by his employers. The really bad news for him is that The Black Phantom, a legendary assassin, has been hired to rub him out. It's not quite clear exactly how the events go down, but the report adds that at some point an "odd partnership" is formed between the two leads. My bet is that they eventually team up to kill the same boss that turned on Hart's character.
How do I know this? Because The Black Phantom is being directed and produced by Tim Story and Will Packer, respectively, the same filmmakers who brought us the incredibly generic Ride Along earlier this year.
To put it bluntly, Black Phantom is yet another a comedy that pairs up Kevin Hart with a much more serious veteran actor, and they both go on an action-filled adventure. My hopes aren't high. That being said, I do think Kevin Hart is a funny guy, and Samuel L. Jackson has a tendency to elevate any project he's a part of. The problem with these two is finding the right material. Or maybe I'm just underestimating the film, and it will wind up being one of the funniest of the year (whenever it gets released).
Because Samuel L. Jackson has a tendency to take on something like 30 projects a year, he is involved with many in-development films - but there are a few titles that stand out. Next year we will hopefully see him back in his eye patch and duster in Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight is gearing up to start production at the start of 2015. We don't know the current filming schedule for The Black Phantom, but we'll let you know when we do.