By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 17, 2011 at 10:00AM
Listen, there is no doubt that Samuel L. Jackson and Val Kilmer are solid actors, and given the right material and talent to work with, they are some of the finest thesps in the game. Unfortunately, both are prone to taking on dubious projects (though the latter far more often than the former) and news comes today of two projects that find the actors swinging for mediocrity.
First up, Sam Jackson is set to star in "The Samaritan" with Luke Kirby and Ruth Negga. David Weaver ("Century Hotel") directs the film he co-wrote with Elan Mastai ("Alone in the Dark") in which Jackson plays "Foley, a former grifter who sets out to put his life of crime behind him after serving a 20-year prison sentence. He meets an elusive young woman (Negga), but it's not long before the son of Foley's former partner asks him for help with an ingenious plan. Kirby plays the son." Yeah, sounds like a lot of movies we've seen before but with shooting starting next week with lensing in Toronto and Rio De Janeiro, we're pretty sure the latter location is a big reason why anybody signed on to this (free trip to Brazil? Sure!). The film already has distribution lined up in a number of territories (except the U.S.) and is already being planned for an early 2012 release.
Meanwhile over in Kilmer Land, the actor will be saddling up for the lead in "The First Ride of Wyatt Earp." Written by Darren Benjamin Shepherd and directed by Mike Feifer (who has directed a strange number of both Christmas and serial killer movies) the film will follow an "elderly Earp sitting down with a reporter to reflect on the ride that made him a legend, when the young marshal rounded up a posse to track down the outlaw who mistakenly murdered the woman he loved." So is Kilmer gonna 'Benjamin Button' this role? OK, then we guess we'll have to watch this thing.
A pretty big number of unknowns round out the cast with Daniel Booko playing Spike Kennedy, Trace Adkins (OK, he's famous enough) as his father, "American Idol" finalist Diana DeGarmo (what's with all the singers?) as young Wyatt Earp's love interest, Matt Dallas as Bat Masterson and Wilson Bethel playing Doc Holliday. Shawn Roberts, Stephen Grayhm, Scott Whyte and Levi Fiehler are also on board. Lensing is now underway in California. [Variety/Variety]