By Gabe Toro | The Playlist June 11, 2011 at 4:00AM
Joel Silver's Dark Castle Entertainment Producing; Film Begins Shooting Later This Month
It seemed to make sense that Sylvester Stallone would reach out to Thomas Jane to co-star in the film formerly-titled "Headshot" as both were macho brawlers with a significant age difference. The thriller, from director Walter Hill, was to match Stallone as a professional killer with Jane the young cop who must collaborate with the hitman to solve a massive conspiracy. And then Dark Castle and superproducer Joel Silver got involved. And looks like Silver he threw his weight around, claiming a Dark Castle mandate for racially mixed lead cast members, so Jane is out, and the handsome, charismatic Sung Kang is in.
Kang, who was last seen in "Fast Five," is not only a guy deserving of a big break, but also a real, honest-to-god Asian leading man who won't be pigeonholed as a martial artist. Yes, actual progress. Also, Jane was never a great fit from a studio perspective, as he was not only fairly old in his own right (42) but already carries the stigma of having done too many junky genre pieces and straight-to-DVD actioners. Jane is just fine in those roles, but Kang is a much younger, sexier pick, and the Kang/Stallone dynamic seems like it could be more fruitful. Though there is no mention of Kang playing the role vacated by Jane, the "Punisher" actor is not mentioned anywhere in the news story, and the heat off megahit "Fast Five" is surely enough to land Kang a lead here.
Silver is reuniting with Hill, and the last few times they teamed resulted in "The Warriors" and "48 Hours," so there's certainly reason for optimism regarding this project, itself adapted from a French comic book called "Bullet In The Head." Silver and Dark Castle, who started out as a horror remake house but then branched out, are clearly hoping for an "Expendables"-type success considering Stallone's involvement, but it's not all roses. For one thing, hiring an unproven personality like Kang could suggest Dark Castle is "protecting their investment" by requesting more studio input.