By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist August 9, 2011 at 1:01AM
It's always good to see an actor who's been coasting along decide they want to get stuck in and actually act again: witness Matthew McConaughey's recent choice of roles, picking up gigs with people like William Friedkin and Richard Linklater. We hope that Gerald Butler is heading along a similar career path, after a few years alternating between shouty thrillers and tone-deaf comedies: he picked up good notices for a Shakespearean turn in Ralph Fiennes' "Coriolanus," and is being positioned as a potential Best Actor candidate for his performance in Marc Forster's "Machine Gun Preacher," which opens next month.
Butler's just signed on to a new project, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and while it's too early to say if it'll continue the upswing, or be another "Law Abiding Citizen," it is, at least, not another romantic comedy. The star is attached to "The Bricklayer," an adaptation of the novel by ex-FBI agent Noah Boyd. Butler will play hero Steve Vail, an ex-FBI agent, now working as the bricklayer of the title, who's brought back into the bureau when a vicious extortionist starts targeting the agency. Vail also appears in two sequels by Boyd, "Last Chance To Die" and "Agent X," so Millennium Films, who have the rights, are clearly hoping that this could be the start of a potential franchise.
Hanna Weg, who wrote the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald biopic "The Beautiful and the Damned" that Keira Knightley was circling a while ago, is penning the script. There's no word on a possible timeline, and there's no director attached, but Butler's slate is clear -- he's attached to Curtis Hanson's "Mavericks" and Antoine Fuqua's "Afterburn," and could crop up in Noam Murro's "300: Battle of Artemisia," but none have firm start dates -- so this could end up moving forward quite swiftly.