After making his mark on HBO’s Game of Thrones, Brian Kirk has taken the reins on 20th Century Fox’s long-gestating thriller Narco Sub, which is eyeing action star Liam Neeson to take on the lead role.
The title will center on “a notorious Ecuadorian drug lord who forces a disgraced American naval officer to navigate a cocaine-packed submarine past the U.S. Coast Guard,” TheWrap reports.
Though Kirk has already signed on, Neeson is by no means a done deal, sources report. Producers Ridley Scott and Simon Kinberg, who have been with the David Guggenheim-scripted project since its early days, both agree that Neeson is the man for the job, and now they’re moving to lock him in. The project may have to move fast to catch him, however. The veteran actor, whose Oscar-nominated performance in Schindler’s List seemed to guarantee him a long career of prestige titles before he experienced a mid-career renaissance as a hard-hitting action hero in titles like Taken and Unknown, has announced his intention to quit action movies in about two years.
It’s worth noting, though, that Neeson was coming off a long string of action-heavy movies, including Non-Stop, A Walk Among the Tombstones and Run All Night, when he made that statement. His upcoming slate includes raunchy comedy Ted 2, fantasy adaptation A Monster Calls and buzzy Martin Scorsese drama Silence, so by the time filming concludes on those projects, Neeson may be ready to kick some ass once more.
Narco Sub had a long and bumpy road to the big screen. After first emerging as a Tony Scott project back in 2011, the thriller was deep-sixed by the director’s death, only occasionally surfacing to be eyed then passed over by the likes of Joe Carnahan, Doug Liman and Antoine Fuqua. Now that Kirk is in place and the producers have made their preference for a leading man clear, expect things to move fast on this one.