Bradley Cooper May Become Mack Bolan for Director Todd Phillips
In case you didn't know, after working on The Hangover trilogy together, Bradley Cooper and Todd Phillips have formed their own production label at Warner Bros., and they're not wasting anytime lining up projects for the big screen. Deadline reports the studio has acquired Don Pendleton's book series featuring recurring anti-terrorist operative Mack Bolan and will develop the film as a vehicle for Cooper to lead and Phillips to potentially direct as well. Avatar sequel writer Shane Salerno, who had the rights to the series from Pendleton's estate, will produce the film with the duo, in addition to writing the script. More below!
There are 38 books featuring Bolan, written by Pendleton himself, that were published over 11 years. Then the author supervised a group of ghostwriters who were tasked with writing two books per month when the series was at its highest point in popularity. New books are published every year along with spin-off series as well. That means there's plenty of material to bring to the big screen, with Salerno hoping to craft a “relevant, grounded and gritty, real-world, PG-13 action-drama film series” that will likely be a trilogy.
This would be the first action franchise for Cooper, though he came close to action adventure territory as the lead in the video game adaptation Uncharted. Cooper has taken on action in The A-Team before, but that failed to be lucrative enough to spawn a sequel. This sounds promising with a character that has a following like Jack Reacher or Alex Cross, but those films don't always result in success either. With Phillips interested in directing, this could be an interesting new path for both talents.
In addition, last week The Wrap reported Cooper and Phillips also picked up the rights to Adam Higginbotham's non-fiction article A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite. The real-life story focuses on the race to stop one of history's most bizarre extortion plots, beginning in August of 1980, when a Nevada casino discovered a gigantic bomb and a ransom note sitting on its second floor. Cooper and Phillips' three-year, first look deal at Warner Bros. has also resulted in them developing a project called Arms & the Dudes about hapless guys who become arms dealers, which Phillips is set to direct. Stay tuned for more.