By Benjamin Wright | The Playlist April 18, 2012 at 3:45PM
Gerard Butler is a busy actor whose roles have taken him all over the map in terms of genre and character. While he may be best known for muscular action flicks like “300” and romantic comedies like “The Ugly Truth,” he’s popped up as a voice talent in the animated “How To Train Your Dragon” and had his big break as The Phantom in Joel Schumacher’s rendition of “The Phantom of the Opera.” He’s not slowing down either, with a busy slate of potential projects, including the highly coveted lead role in Albert Hughes’ “Motor City” – and it was just yesterday we told you he’d be joining “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” director Tommy Wirkola on the sci-fi comic adaptation “Afterburn.”
Well, he’ll be hopping out of one genre-specific pic and into another with his newly announced “Manhunt,” which will find Butler in the mix as a group of FBI agents that are sent to the North Carolina wilderness in pursuit of the bureau's most wanted man, a terrorist and outdoorsman by the name of James Tollan who is eluding arrest and reeking unspeakable horrors upon the government with the help of locals. Once the FBI enroll a bear hunter into the fold, they enter the woods and consequently begin to be hunted by Tollan himself as he’s hell-bent on surviving. Sounds like “First Blood” meets “The Edge,” and we hope it’s just as much of a guilty pleasure as that pairing does sound. It’s in the moderately capable hands of “The Crazies” director Breck Eisner, who you may remember had Butler in mind for his seemingly stalled-out “Escape From New York” remake.
While Deadline doesn’t say exactly which part Butler would play, we’re guessing it may go the route of Tollan, as Butler seems to have the physicality of a hardboiled survivor. This writer wasn’t completely sold on Eisner’s “The Crazies,” but it had a handful of moments that proved he could do some suspense, so perhaps a property like this could help him take off. Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby wrote the script, which gives a little hope, as they were in the writing tank for “Iron Man,” as well as penning the excellent “Children of Men” and a draft of “Cowboys & Aliens.” In the end, we hope it’ll at least make for an entertaining thriller.
Shooting is expected to begin at the end of this year, so we’re guessing we’ll hear some more casting on this one relatively soon.