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Character actors Clifton Collins Jr. (Star Trek, Capote) and the intrepid Wendell Pierce (HBO’s Treme and The Wire) have signed on for roles in Taylor Hackford’s adaptation of Parker, Variety reports.
Hackford hasn’t pushed himself too hard since collecting a Best Director Oscar nomination for the 2004 musical biopic Ray with Jamie Foxx. Outside of the little-seen Love Ranch, with his beautiful bride Helen Mirren, the Oscar winner has been content to wait for the right project. Now it sounds like he’s ready to climb back behind the camera, and he’s acquiring a fine cast for a crime-thriller with a Robin Hood hook.
Parker, which is in pre-production, stars Jason Statham as a career thief whose code of honor won’t allow him to steal from people who need the money more than he does. The character was conceived by novelist Donald E. Westlake, who wrote 24 Parker stories under the pseudonym Richard Stark. Over the years, actors ranging from Mel Gibson to Lee Marvin have played Parker (or a variation of the character) in films like Payback and Point Blank. Aside from Collins Jr. and Pierce, Statham also will be joined by pop superstar and American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez.
While Parker sounds like a straight up genre film, particularly with Statham in the lead, the inclusion of outstanding character actors in supporting roles and the placement of Hackford behind the lens means the film has the potential to rise above standard action fare. Could it climb into the Oscar race like similar efforts The Departed or Gone Baby Gone? We’ll know more when the film reaches theaters in 2012.