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Sean Penn Is Reborn As An Action Hero In First Look At The Gunman

The Gunman Sean Penn

Sean Penn has taken on many kinds of roles over the course of his career, from the stoner surfer dude Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times At Ridgemont High to that time he went full retard to star in I Am Sam, but now he's embarking on a type of part we never imagined him in: action hero. Since November of last year the Academy Award winning actor has been attached to star in the adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette's novel "The Prone Gunman" -the movie version retitled The Gunman - and today not only have cameras started rolling, we have gotten our first look at Penn's latest character.

To announce the start of production on the new action film, Silver Pictures and Studiocanal have sent out the above still, which is an image of the movie's star in character as Jim Terrier, an international operative. In the story, which was scripted by Pete Travis (who directed last year's Dredd), Terrier is turned on by his former employers and he is forced to go on the run through Europe. As previously reported, the project has an outstanding supporting cast that includes Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, and Ray Winstone, and the press release for the movie reveals that Mark Rylance (Anonymous) and Italian actress Jasmine Trinca (The Best of Youth) have come aboard as well.

Pierre Morel, who burst on the scene thanks to the revenge thriller Taken, is helming the film - his first since 2010's From Paris With Love (though he has spent that time keeping busy on the small screen). Famed blockbuster producer Joel Silver is working on the film with partner Andrew Rona, and Penn is a producer on the movie as well. Studiocanal will be financing the film and distributing it in foreign territories, but it doesn't look like it has found distribution in the United States yet. The production will be traveling to multiple locations, but shooting will mostly take place in Barcelona and London.

Earlier this year Penn starred as villainous real-life mob kingpin Mickey Cohen in the not-so-great Ruben Fleischer film Gangster Squad, but the second half of his 2013 looks much more promising. In December we'll get to see the result of his collaboration with director/star Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a retelling of the famous short story adapted by Steve Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness). I had the chance to see a preview of the film earlier this year at CinemaCon, and it immediately became one of my most anticipated titles for the rest of the year. Bardem has Ridley Scott's The Counselor coming out at the end of October; Elba can currently be seen in Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim and has Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Thor: The Dark World coming out in a few months; and Winstone will soon be seen in Darren Aronofsky's Noah.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.