Casting a character for a film is usually a complicated process, but casting an established role with a long history in another medium is something else altogether. And, of course, when you're dealing with a character as badass as American Assassin's Stan Hurley, you definitely need to get it right. Luckily, the film managed to lock down Michael Keaton for the role, and it turns out that the former Batman was perfect for the role because of his quiet and unpredictable "let's get nuts" intensity. American Assassin producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura opened up ahead of the film's upcoming home release and explained:
When I first heard he was cast as Batman you were like 'Batman? Really?' Then when you watched it it was like, it's that edge of who he is. You can see it in his eyes when the mask is on, there's an edginess to him, and that may or may not be someone's vision of Stan Hurley, but it's a version of Stan Hurley that gives him that sort of causticness, tension from that guy because there's a lot of things about him trying to put people on their heels. I think the way Michael approaches a lot of this stuff, he puts you on your heels. Not because he's coming at you, you're not exactly sure where he's going. Which I think is right for the character.
Michael Keaton might not be the most immediately imposing individual in a physical sense, but according to Lorenzo di Bonaventura, there's something in his eyes that conveys a weight and a sense of power. Stan Hurley is supposed to be an expert CIA badass agent with years of experience in the world of clandestine operations during the Cold War, and that's probably not the first thing you think of when you imagine Keaton -- particularly with his long history in comedies like Beetlejuice or Mr. Mom. However, Keaton brings a manic unpredictability to his more badass performances (notably Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton's Batman movies) that perfectly encapsulates what American Assassin's version of Stan Hurley is trying to embody.
For a guy like Michael Keaton, all it takes to show off that type of intensity is a simple glance. As Lorenzo di Bonaventura pointed out, even behind Batman's mask, he has always been able to deliver a genuinely badass look.
Michael Keaton similarly chimed in on the matter and discussed the issues of dealing with typecasting over the course of his career. Even with his experience playing someone like Batman, Stan Hurley still allowed him to try new things this far into his career. Keaton explained:
I hadn't played anybody like him. I played other guys who were hardened and what you might call badasses, but Bruce Wayne's pretty much a badass actually.
Check out an exclusive clip from American Assassin below to get a better sense of what the folks behind the movie were looking for in the creation of Michael Keaton's Stan Hurley.
American Assassin premieres on Digital HD November 21, and the 4K, Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film will hit shelves on December 5 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Looking ahead through the next year on the silver screen, you can also check out our 2017 movie premiere guide and our 2018 movie premiere guide for more information on all of the biggest upcoming film debuts!