By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist September 29, 2011 at 11:24AM
While Woody Harrelson has earned acclaimed for his post-"Cheers" dramatic work, the actor still likes to have some fun. In fact, prior to the TIFF premiere of Oren Moverman's "Rampart," Harrelson did everything from the raunchy comedy "Friends With Benefits" to the disaster movie "2012" to low-fi superhero pic "Defendor." And while those films are certainly a mixed bag, his next turn could see the actor taking part in some high class genre fare.
If you need any proof that Louis Leterrier's forthcoming "Now You See Me" is a cut above you average heist flick, the cast assembled so far of Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Isla Fisher and Melanie Laurent should quell any doubts you might have. And with Variety reporting that Harrelson has now come aboard as well, that seals the deal for the film being one of the most intriguing of 2012. Penned by Boaz Yakin (”Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” “Fresh”) and newcomer Edward Ricourt, the story follows a crack FBI squad in a game of cat-and-mouse against a super team of the world’s greatest illusionists, who pull off a series of daring bank heists during their performances and shower the profits onto their audiences. Harrelson will play Merritt Osbourne, a former mentalist and hypnotist to the Queen Of England who is now slumming it in Las Vegas when he teams up with illusionist team The Four Horsemen to pull a few jobs. He's said to employ some Jedi style mind tricks as part of his bag of tricks.
It's another fascinating casting decision and element to a film that is already unlike anything in recent memory, and sounds like an ambitious marriage between some distinct genres. As the film gears up to start shooting, "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" writers Andre Nemec and Josh Applebaum have given the script a once over, and we have to say, we're eager to see what Leterrier turns out with this one. No release date yet, but as for Harrelson, you can catch him next in the excellent "Rampart" where he gives one of the best performances of his career, and next spring hanging with Katniss Everdeen in "Hunger Games."