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UPDATE: A Variety reporter is now saying that Mark Wahlberg has passed on the project, but that Dwayne Johnson is still in the running.
Michael Bay has been threatening to branch off from his massive (and massively successful) Transformers franchise for some time now, but a new reports suggests that the special-effects maven might be ready to back up that muscular talk with some action.
Variety says Bay is in talks with Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg for Pain and Gain, a feature the trade describes as a "darkly comedic bodybuilding pic" about Florida weightlifters who become embroiled in an extortion and kidnapping scheme that goes awry. Great. Somebody’s been showing Bay old Coen Brothers comedies, and now he wants to try his (heavy) hand.
But do you know what? I’m legitimately excited at the prospects of Pain and Gain. Back in the day, Bay made movies that didn’t involve gigantic robots smashing through unrecognizable cities as they waged war on our planet. Maybe they didn’t strive for the level of, say, the Coens, but I’d much rather see another Bad Boys (the original … not the sequel) or The Rock - action comedies that played opposite personalities off of each other – before enduring another Transformers sequel.
The site says both actors have had discussions with Bay, though Johnson’s closer to signing than Wahlberg. The story would be adapted from an article that ran in Miami New Times back in 1999. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who co-wrote Captain America together, wrote the original script and admit it mirrors Fargo, but both actors have a slew of potential projects on their plate, from Fast and Furious sequels (for Johnson) to Adam McKay’s football comedy Three Mississippi (for Wahlberg). If Bay wants these leading men, he might have to be patient.