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‘Maze Runner’s Dylan O’Brien In Talks To Play Mitch Rapp In Vince Flynn Spy Novel Adaptation ‘American Assassin’

Dylan O'Brien American Assassin

EXCLUSIVE: Dylan O’Brien is in negotiations with CBS Films to play Mitch Rapp in American Assassin, the adaptation of the Vince Flynn bestselling novel series that Michael Cuesta will direct for CBS Films and Lionsgate. O’Brien will play the title character, who ruthlessly carries out covert counter-terrorist operations for the CIA in the book series. A deal is expected to make shortly, ending a long search for what is expected to be a star-making role. He would star alongside Michael Keaton, who signed on earlier to play Stan Hurley, a badass Cold War veteran who teaches the young assassin everything he needs to know. The idea is that O’Brien’s Mitch Rapp is college aged, and the hope is the actor grows as the series progresses.

Stephen Schiff adapted the novel and Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler are producing. CBS Films and Lionsgate are co-financing; CBS Films is overseeing the production and marketing while Lionsgate will release what is hoped to be the start of a franchise. Production begins in the fall, and they will be working around O’Brien’s recovery from injuries incurred during the shooting of Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which had to be postponed to give him time to heal up.

Lionsgate will be selling foreign on the film, and having O’Brien in the fold will surely help. It also means he’s recovering from his injuries.

michael-keaton-american-assassinThe series will begin as Rapp is a black ops recruit who’s devastated by the loss of his fiancee to a terrorist attack. The CIA deputy director assigns the shadowy Hurley to train a grief-stricken but highly motivated Rapp how to thwart terrorist operations and hunt the perpetrators. As Rapp’s training progresses, the pair is dispatched on a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent to stop a mysterious operative from starting World War III in the Middle East. Rapp appears in 14 bestselling novels written by Flynn, who died in 2013. This has long been thought of as fertile ground for an action franchise, but it has taken forever to crystallize.

O’Brien is best known for The Maze Runner, and he’s part of the cast of the upcoming Deepwater Horizon, which is being made by Summit, so clearly they got a good look at the young actor’s potential. WME and Principal Entertainment rep him.

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  1. Trrrry againon May 10, 2016 7:06 am

    So he can go to coachella, and sign up for other movies, but can’t finish his obligations to maze runner. Cute.

    • on May 10, 2016 7:49 am

      Try again yourself. He’s been disappeared for months and he has NEVER been to Coachella.

    • on May 10, 2016 8:05 am

      What on earth are you talking about, Dylan has never been to Coachella in his life! He has been recovering since his accident in March, maybe get your facts straight in future before flinging shit sweetie.
      Also the accident appears to be production’s fault because from what we’ve been told it was caused by faulty equipment.

    • Riannaon May 10, 2016 8:25 am

      Except he wasn’t at Coachella… You’re probably mixing him up with Dylan Sprayberry. And bare in mind that the whole film schedule is messed up at this point because of his recovery. So maybe not everyone is available to film in summer time. No one fully knows the situation with that yet.

    • Riannaon May 10, 2016 8:27 am

      Except he wasn’t at Coachella… You’re probably mixing him up with Dylan Sprayberry. And bare in mind that the whole film schedule is messed up at this point because of his recovery. So maybe not everyone is available to film in summer time. No one fully knows the situation yet.

    • kannbrownon May 10, 2016 2:01 pm

      So, he can’t currently handle 12 hour shooting days with a high level of concentration and physicality, but he can manage to read a script and sign a contract.

      Yeah, that’s terribly suspicious.

      • Miaon May 10, 2016 5:11 pm

        Wow. Ok so because he is resting up and recovering it is suspicious that he is looking at scripts and contracts? It’s not as if he has lost all ability to do anything. He just may not be able to do anything strenuous right now.

        • kannbrownon May 10, 2016 8:48 pm

          Sorry, I need a sarcasm font. *chuckle* I agree with you utterly.

      • Postulare Quarantadueon May 14, 2016 7:51 am

        What I want to know is how’s the motor control in that arm and leg? How’s his grip? Will he have control of that eye? How much Trigeminal Nerve complex involvement? Is it reparable, or will he need pain management for life? How much OT and speech therapy will be needed? For how long? Was the high altitude, reduced pressure, flight back from Canada really the best mode of transport for a person with traumatic concussive damage to the blood vessels of the brain? Lots of questions that no reporters are asking. Why should they? … There’s only tens of millions of dollars and the paychecks of many hundreds at stake. I completely get that Mr. O’Brien is a private kind of guy, that somethings just don’t belong to the public, and I agree wholeheartedly … but even with the depth of personal caring I feel, these remain questions that impact business … and NOBODY in the Fourth Estate is asking them. This isn’t just paparazzi nosiness here.

        • on May 15, 2016 11:41 am

          What do you mean? Interested to know more.

        • on May 16, 2016 7:20 am

          Never mind, I’ve already seen you’ve posted this in every article about Dylan you’ve found. Truly pathetic attempt at trolling. Stay bitter, and I hope you enjoy it while Dylan becomes A-list.

          • Postulare Quarantadueon May 16, 2016 3:31 pm

            I really am NOT “trolling”. I really DO want those questions asked, and answered, by somebody!
            “bitter” ??? What in the world would I have to be “bitter” about? Honestly, it smells like a media smokescreen — just a lot of gladhanding and eyewash from his publicist. Want cynicism? Maybe they’re playing this out for as much free publicity as they can get? Still, apart from vague reports of sightings, who’s actually gotten a camera and mic on him? “A-lister” Oh heyl yeah! I hope he sues that production SO hard that he never has to take any acting job he doesn’t want to for the rest of his life. (What you’re not reading in my prior post is that a) I know the industry, intimately, and b) I know something about such accidents and injury recovery, and am just applying that experience to what we’ve been given.) I’m asking hard questions, pushing to get answers. “Trolling” is intentional disruption. This is making waves for a beneficial purpose … not disruption of anything … unless it really IS a smokescreen.

          • Postulare Quarantadueon May 16, 2016 3:57 pm

            “trolling” ? Asking hard questions to get real answers is NOT “trolling” And “bitter” ?? WhatEVER in the world would I have to be “bitter” about? How do you read any of that in my last post? “A-list” ? Oh heyl yeah!! I hope he sues that production so hard that he never has to take any acting job he doesn’t want to ever again! In fact, I hope he banks it SO large that he can bump Shamayalin aside a bit when it comes to funding projects, and just BUY the Mets. eh? I am nothing BUT supportive of a long and prosperous career for TheBigDyl. Hell! I was one of the first to spread memes about his raw talent. O’B I believe in. Publicists and other parasites not so much.
            My problem is that I am intimately aware of “the industry” and how it eats it’s young. I am also personally experienced with these kinds of accidents, the possible medical problems, the recovery treatments and processes. I’m just applying that experience to these vague and contradictory reports.
            Here’s a question for you: How can an actor, currently in performance default on two contracts for debilitating health reasons, be realistically in position to enter into another demanding contract? “In talks” really is something that Agents and Managers do. (And publicists keep the name buzzing, regardless) The talent isn’t usually involved except at key points.
            If he’s REALLY healthy and mending so easily, then Damn! I know TyPo can be (usually is) a real L’enfant Terrible verging on harassing, but get on set, finish that contract, let them transition to Liam-Mason, then go forth to make other greater performances and tons of money, a happy life, and hopefully a whole pack of little Dylans under foot.
            But wtf is THIS ?

        • on May 17, 2016 12:01 am

          Ah yeah, the mighty cause of the internet warrior.

          You’re sick in the head. It’s disgusting that you’re using a sad accident to act like this. I can only hope Dylan’s connection to Teen Wolf is offed soon just so people like you stop obsessing about him.

          Get a life. This will be my last message.

          PS. But thanks for explaining your point just so everyone who’s reading this can see how crazy you are!

          • Postulare Quarantadueon May 17, 2016 8:39 am

            Fallacy: Red Herring – Argumentum ad Hominem
            Fallacy: Red Herring – Appeal to Ridicule
            Fallacy: Argument from (personal) Incredulity
            None of your comment addresses a single POINT in any of my posts. They just attack the poster, and make certain “non-denial-denials”.
            (N.B. – I got money in this horserace)

          • on May 17, 2016 9:20 am

            If you had money in this horserace, you’d know about his state and wouldn’t be literally posting the same comments over and over again all over the internet, including this reply. You’re not deluding anyone.

          • Postulare Quarantadueon May 18, 2016 6:10 am

            Just more Red Herring sushi on your bib.

            Investors don’t get anything other than press releases and percentages. Stuff like this and they might bolt. We don’t even get non-fulfillment penalty slices. Investor Relations is silent except for the same press releases (with marginal stylistic variations) that everyone has been parroting all over the place. No new data. “Ecumenical News” just released that Dylan is being written out of TW s06 completely. Sign up for yet ANOTHER action flick while apparently still in (“temporary”) non-fulfillment in another, AND now in full non-fulfillment on his oldest commitment, and that of only a few weeks duration? Why would he welch on the people who gave him his start, especially after explicitly saying that as long as there was a story, he be there for TW ? Welching on commitments doesn’t seem his style at all. I get that everyone wants to be cautious, not just for liability reasons but because he’s a person rather than just an asset. But why the thundering silence? It’s not Hollywood’s usual style … about anything except contract and liability law. There’s something going on here. Honestly, I want to be proven wrong as soon as humanly possible.
            Now it’s time for more of your mean comments followed by (hopefully) long sullen silences.

          • on May 18, 2016 4:15 pm

            Are you seriously trying to make anyone at all believe that an “investor” would be leaving the same comments in more than 10 articles like some little internet troll? LMAO You may be insane, but don’t assume the rest of the world is.

            Look, you nasty asshole, it’s evident that you’re just trying to make people afraid and trying to see what shit sticks to the wall (again with this shit about him “welching” on whatever because he’s daring to take the time to recover and never had social media presence to begin with). I get that it keeps you entertained, but this is a real human being you’re talking about. Your enjoyment of this is fucking sick, and it’s so evident that you’re just a bitter Teen Wolf fan. Don’t think it’s not noticeable.

            You all are saying the same shit, but newsflash – the surprising thing, to anyone sane, is that he was on that shit show for that long, while being on a huge franchise like The Maze Runner. He’s not failing to fulfill his commitments; on the contrary, he’s more than fulfilled them, at the risk of his own career. It’s time to let him go, and for assholes like you to hopefully get off his back and start obsessing about something else. There’s a big cast in that show, why don’t you go make up some rumors about them?

          • Postulare Quarantadueon May 20, 2016 8:02 pm

            In fact, I am an investor (one of many) through an investment house that specializes in the Entertainment industry. Neither your belief nor your approval are required. You still haven’t answered any of my questions. Instead, you attack me. Fine. No matter.
            My “tree shaking” has worked, and the primary questions have been answered. When the direct approach proves unproductive, it’s only smart to use other means. It’s hard to tell which venue will produce the desired result, so a shortgun tactic … something is bound to get through the bubble … and it did.
            I got the answers I wanted, and you got to be noxious and acidic.
            See … everybody happy.
            (N.B.- “fandom” requires “fan-atics”. PASS.)

          • on May 18, 2016 4:36 pm

            A Hollywood investor that takes Ecumenical News as a source …. yeah….

            Yeah no one is buying that. Investors can and do ask and don’t argue on the internet about things like this, much less reveal their position. You my friend are a shitty liar.

            I don’t envy the young and famous if they attract people like you!

        • on May 21, 2016 9:17 am

          Let me guess: You think that makes you an investor? Oh my. The delusion and the entitlement run deep.

          I don’t even know which answers you’re talking about, because nothing new has come out. Unless you are one of those fools who thinks that WordPress interview of a certain someone is real.

          At least I hope this means you’re finally shutting up! Glad to see you deleted your ridiculous account and all your messages have disappeared. Good job. :)

          • Postulare Quarantadueon May 23, 2016 11:07 am

            Never heard of “HSX” before. That must be how all those revolting horror Bs are getting funded. (What a waste of ducats)
            Yeah, I got my data (You’ll find out eventually) and Dyl got a real New Jersey 1.1mil-voiced (was only trying for @20k) “Get off your cute lazy arse and get well e-card.” Publicists nowadays just don’t know how to use the tools they’ve been given (sigh).
            Be well, Auntie Kuntie. Your MuMu looks cute … but chainsmoking parliaments will kill ya.

  2. Phantomon May 10, 2016 7:10 am

    So his franchise has been put on hold indefinitely because he needs more time for his recovery but he can shoot another franchise film this summer ? Something is off here, people.

    • taliaon May 10, 2016 8:21 am

      Production is scheduled to begin in the fall not summer. Whether that actually happens is to be seen as he will have to finish filming the final maze runner film first before he does anything else including filming of the next season of teen wolf. There is nothing off about it.

      • phantomon May 10, 2016 3:58 pm

        Here is what I still don’t get though : how is he supposed to finish Death Cure and shoot a new season of his TV show in roughly 4 months – until American Assassin – when only 2 weeks ago the former was delayed indefinitely citing his slower than expected recovery ? Even if he went back to work tomorrow, it would be still a super-tight schedule, but according to the indefinite postponement, he is nowhere near ready to go back.

        Having said that, these are all questions I ask because to me they make sense and should not take a thing away from the great news this casting suggests and that is that this guy is seemingly on his way to full recovery. Well-done, O’Brien!

        • taliaon May 11, 2016 3:58 am

          My guess is that if he does sign on to do the film, production will probably be postponed until early next year.

    • on May 10, 2016 9:22 am

      Yep. The smell of bullshit is strong with this one.

  3. markclarkcoltsfanon May 10, 2016 8:04 am

    Action stars of years past: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Bronson and Eastwood. Action stars in 2016: This guy?

    • Christianon May 10, 2016 11:38 am

      he is not an action star yet, more like the action stars of today are jason statham , vin diesel, dwayne johnson, liam neeson,gerard butler,,etc

    • Karen Brownon May 10, 2016 1:58 pm

      You mean they now care more about people who can actually act, instead of simply narrow their eyes and do monotone deliveries?

      Yeah, definitely an upgrade.

      • on May 13, 2016 1:36 pm

        Totally agree on that, he is a much better actor than past action stars.

      • TFilmson May 19, 2016 6:26 am

        @ Karen Brown You took the words right out of my mouth. People like Schwarzenegger and Eastwood never had any business being as successful as they were, since they were mediocre actors at BEST. O’Brien will be one of the first in a new wave of dynamic, young, action stars, and subsequently, action films that place greater emphasis on acting ability than previous generations.

  4. #GetWellSoonDylan! (@bhadpodcast)on May 10, 2016 8:22 am

    1) He never went to coachella, lol, lbr.
    2) Production doesn’t start until fall which means filming probably won’t happen until next year.

  5. threecallsaintenoughon May 10, 2016 8:51 am

    This is literally one of the worst casting decisions I have ever seen, WTF, CBS? Mitch Rapp is a bad assed killer–Dylan O’Brien looks like someone ready to give up his lunch money on command.

    • jameson May 10, 2016 11:20 am

      I used to think about Matt Damon that way. Funny how that changed with a good role and director.

    • Jayon May 10, 2016 12:50 pm

      Dylan O’Brien is a pretty amazing actor (meaning: he has very, very good acting skills and can convince the audience and has often been singled out by his costars for his talent, not just that he’s handsome), from his YouTube videos when he was in high school up through taking a cheesy role in the Teen Wolf remake tv series and going from a goofball to a possessed serial killer type. He’s starred in a lot of entry-level roles but he manages to pull them off well, and The Maze Runner proved he could do the leading actor role in an action series. There were rumors that he was up for Spiderman before they settled on the new guy, I do think he could play a great assassin. It’s smart to pick a young 20something guy for a potential long-term series role, otherwise you end up with James Bond issues. That said, I prefer my action movies more like Mad Max than Tom Clancy, so I’ll probably give this a pass unless it gets amazing reviews.

    • kannbrownon May 10, 2016 1:59 pm

      Be a really crappy assassin if you take one look at him and say, “Wow, that looks like an assassin.” Personally, I think it could be genius. He’s also an incredibly good actor.

  6. bobbyon May 10, 2016 10:24 am

    does this mean he’s okay? I hope he’s okay. He’s a good guy.

  7. on May 10, 2016 11:14 am

    Shittiest casting I ever heard of. Even worse than the recent Jack Ryan mis step

    Casting, like story development is a lost art and now a total shit show

    This novel adaption is ruined

  8. mikeon May 10, 2016 12:12 pm

    they couldn’t find anybody built like a soldier?

    • on May 11, 2016 2:33 am

      Something tells me you haven’t read the books seeing as in the first book Mitch starts off as a college student? CIA does not equal army!

  9. ...on May 10, 2016 2:11 pm

    Does anyone buy this kid holding a gun?

    • kannbrownon May 10, 2016 2:21 pm

      Guess you haven’t seen his movies OR his tv show. He held a gun through a lot of Scorch trials AND he played a villain (possessed) in his TV show. So yeah, apparently they can.

      It’s called ‘acting’.

    • Kim Naff (@mmmdraco)on May 10, 2016 2:45 pm

      Considering that he’s used a gun in two movies he’s done, yes, I can buy this kid holding a gun. Hollywood has spent a rather long time trying to sell the idea that only men of a certain age can be REAL action heroes, but that’s not any kind of truth. Dylan is very talented. Writing him off because he can manage to look young and unassuming does not actually mean that he’s incapable of being perfect for this role.

      • kannbrownon May 10, 2016 3:14 pm

        And the role actually is written as a young college aged man who is being trained as an assassin. So, he’s supposed to be a young man.

    • on May 12, 2016 2:03 pm

      Looks pretty good holding a gun on mazerunner

  10. GregWon May 10, 2016 2:59 pm

    Him as Mitch rapp? He’s way too young. Casting is so weird.

    • kannbrownon May 10, 2016 8:50 pm

      Actually, Rapp begins the series at 23. O’Brien is 24. I mean, I know we’re so used to seeing up to 30’somethings cast as high schoolers, but he’s actually a year older than the character. They went for the actual age so that as the character ages, he ages. (Like in Harry Potter).

  11. on May 10, 2016 3:59 pm

    How many Lionsgate marks in one thread?

    • on May 11, 2016 2:36 am

      Probably none, Dylan O’Brien has a passionate and dedicated fanbase.

  12. Desertboyon May 10, 2016 6:13 pm

    If this kid can pull off baddass Mitch Rapp he will need an award for it. I thought Cruise as Reacher was the worst casting job ever. I think this might beat that. I hope I’m wrong.

    • kannbrownon May 10, 2016 9:13 pm

      He’s done action in his recent Mazerunner series, he’s also done drama in Deepwater Horizon. And you could check out ‘nogitsune’ footage from his tv show for, well, dark portrayals.

    • play maykahon May 11, 2016 12:57 am

      Just read everyone’s comments have to say almost all of you have a point,but guess we’ll just have to wait and see if Dylan can portray Mitch.Personally I think he could, can’t wait for him to nail the character and I’ll be like ‘in your face’ to all the pessimists that underestimate him.Dylan is a great actor but even good actors mess up their roles sometimes but I’m still hoping for the best.

    • on May 11, 2016 5:33 am

      I would usually be right there with you, but the dude is surprisingly good at playing badass. His face deceives!

  13. Sandra Gearharton May 12, 2016 6:48 pm

    No way, no how. Check out Christopher Mark Heben, former Seal Team 8. When I was watching Discovery Channel’s Secrets of Seal Team 6, the minute I saw Heben (extensively narrated this documentary), I knew he’d be perfect as Mitch Rapp. Please check him out, then let the producer know. It would be tragic to cast the wrong actor, as it would keep thousands of Rapp fans from going to the movie, much like thousands avoided goig to see “Reacher” starring Tom Cruise, who was totally not Jack Reacher.

    • on May 13, 2016 4:01 am

      You’re aware that American Assassins starts with Mitch as a 23-year-old, no bulky muscles to find anywhere in his body, right? Here, I’ll provide some helpful physical descriptions of the book for you:

      “With his frame and current weight, Rapp could lose ten pounds, but anything beyond that and he would open himself up to injury and illness. ”

      “At 23, he was the youngest project they had attempted to run through the program.”

      “You look soft to me. Like you don’t belong here.”

      “A little pussy like you wouldn’t last 5 seconds against me.”

      He’s athletic, but still kid-like, and is supposed to be a triathlete later on, so I don’t know where all the fans of the books are expecting some Vin Diesel type of casting to happen here. O’Brien couldn’t fit the role any better. Seems like the studios know what they’re doing, and more importantly: the kid can act, and is charismatic. Nowadays you need more than muscles to carry on a role like this.

      • on May 13, 2016 11:30 pm

        Exactly. Mitch Rapp starts off as a normal college student. And it’s very clear that he didn’t look like he could fight but turns out to be extremely fast. Dylan O’brien fits in quite well. Those who are familiar with maze runner know that he can run really fast. He is skinny but athletic. And i’s of the right age. And his acting is better than many established action hero’s of our time.

      • TFilmson May 19, 2016 3:51 pm

        Exactly right. This is spot-on casting and anyone that actually payed attention to the descriptions of Mitch in first book of the series can see that. The only possible exception being skin tone, but with the right casting, that can be forgiven. I hope age will finally stop being a disqualifying factor when casting for leads in action films from now on, starting with Dylan O’Brien. The quality of the actor has to start being the most important thing.

  14. Postulare Quarantadueon May 13, 2016 9:38 pm

    All this is fine and good … I mean agents negotiating for a third contract while two are outstanding, and possibly in default. It reads like eyewash and gladhanding.

    What I want to know is … has he woken up yet?

  15. Americanon May 13, 2016 11:49 pm

    I love Dylan O’Brien but him as a gruff and tough assassin?

    No way.

    • on May 14, 2016 5:55 am

      You clearly haven’t seen his filmography then.

  16. Postulare Quarantadueon May 24, 2016 3:17 pm

    Regular tweets from Dylan until March18, then nothing. Talk about. None FROM. This is NOT good.
    The whole Harry Stiles thing is a red herring, a distraction.