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When Fox officially announced the cast for The Fantastic Four recently, many people complained that all the actors were probably too young to take on the classic comic characters - so I have to wonder how those same people will feel about a new movie with a spy who is only 23 years old. For the lead in their upcoming historical thriller Section 6, Universal has brought in British actor Jack O’Connell, who is predicted to make critics go gaga later this year with his performance in Angelina Jolie’s sophomore directorial effort Unbroken. It’s an interesting choice, and much better than casting Zac Efron as James Bond, for far more than one reason.
This will be the first film from screenwriter Aaron Berg, who found himself in the middle of a bidding war some months back. Universal dropped a cool million for the script to Section 6 and pledged that they would fast track it to production. Hugh Jackman expressed interest, but O’Connell is the first official cast member. While no one is sitting at the helm yet, Universal has been talking with a number of different directors for the project, as they feel it has the potential to become a huge franchise. TheWrap reports they’ll soon begin their search once more.
The story behind Section 6 takes place in Britain during World War I, when the country’s government begins forming MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6) to look into the military strength of foreign countries, particularly Germany. At the center of the film will be MI6’s cunning first director, Sir George Mansfield Cummings, who served as the inspiration for SIS head M in Ian Fleming’s series of Bond novels, as well as the similar character in John le Carre’s thriller novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. There’s no specific mention of who O’Connell will be playing, but I’m certainly hoping he isn’t actually taking on the Cummings role. Some lines need to be drawn.
Having made a name for himself in the thriller Eden Lake and the first few seasons of the British series Skins, which he came back to last year for a two-episode stint, O’Connell looks to soon be on critics’ minds for more than just Unbroken. He’ll be playing a stranded British soldier in Belfast for Yann Demange’s drama ’71 and he’ll play an imprisoned teen who battles with his father in David Mackenzie’s Starred Up. He may not receive as much attention for his role as Calisto in Noam Murro’s 300: Rise of an Empire, but he’ll probably stand out at least. Check out the trailer for Starred Up below.