Despite the fact that he’s proven lethal to nearly every project he’s participated in to date, from A Good Day to Die Hard to Terminator Genisys, Jai Courtney is inexplicably still landing plum roles left and right. Now, he’s signed on to lead drama The Kaiser’s Last Kiss, opposite the genuinely talented Lily James and Christopher Plummer.
Written by Simon Burke and based on Alan Judd’s book, the film is set in early WWII in the aftermath of the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands in 1940. The Dutch resistance covertly allies itself with Winston Churchill in order to undermine the Nazis by planting an agent in the home of former German monarch Kaiser Wilhelm (Plummer), who has been living in exile there since 1917.
James plays a young Jewish Dutch woman who embarks on a torrid, treacherous love affair with a German officer (Courtney), which becomes of great interest to both the resistance and the Nazis. Both sides race to identify the agent who could be responsible for the Kaiser’s possible defection to England, with potentially lethal consequences for the two lovers.
Up until Courtney’s casting, The Kaiser’s Last Kiss had all the trappings of an awards pic, with five-time Tony-nominated theatre director David Leveaux making his movie directing debut. What’s inexplicable about it is that, outside of his breakout performance as Varro on Starz’s action-heavy, pathos-light Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Courtney still hasn’t shown that he can do much more than glower menacingly and look good with his shirt off. See: Divergent, Jack Reacher, I Frankenstein, Insurgent – the guy just hasn’t impressed thus far.
He is playing Boomerang in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, so perhaps the actor is about to turn over a new leaf and reveal himself as a genuinely talented thespian in time for The Kaiser’s Last Kiss. For now, though, we’re still holding Terminator Genisys against him.