By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 10, 2011 at 3:53AM
We suppose it makes a bit of sense that Eric Bana's discarded projects will filter down to one-note actor Jason Statham, but it's still a bit of weird switch-up.
Deadline reports that action hero Statham is now eying "Echelon," a project that Bana was in talks for last summer. The franchise potential project is based on the series of books written by Andy McNab about fictional SAS agent Nick Stone. The first book to be adapted, "Firewall," is actually the third in the series and will be retitled "Echelon," most likely to keep it from sounding like a lame internet hacker movie (or that Harrison Ford film) and it will find Stone "caught between the Russian Mafia and western secret agents trying to get their hands on the Echelon computer program." Author McNab brings some real-life experience to his books as he is a former SAS officer himself (and as a consequence, McNab is not his real name) and he was one of the most highly decorated British officers from the first Gulf War. He was also a weapons coordinator on Michael Mann's "Heat" so this should be some gritty stuff.
Simon Crane, long time stunt and second unit director, is looking to make his directorial debut with the picture. Crane was previously linked to the video game adaptation "Kane & Lynch" that had a number of helmers pass through the director's chair, but frankly, of those two middling sounding projects, this one sounds a bit more enticing. The pic will be financed by Hyde Park/Imagenation Abu Dhabi and if Statham comes aboard, we imagine things will start moving quickly on the film.