It’s AFM time in Hollywood, and with it comes a flood of announcements that fall into one of three categories: real projects, projects that will never get made, and projects that will eventually get made, but not with the big-name stars mentioned in press releases that are sent straight to Deadline.
The Asset feels like a real project, if only because it has an actual start date in place. It’s an action-thriller that will star Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson and Maggie Q, an actress who has never once left an impression, but clearly has value overseas. She and Keaton will play rival assassins (okay…) who share a mysterious past from Vietnam, and travel the globe competing for high-profile contracts. When her mentor (Jackson) is murdered, the two assassins must form an uneasy alliance and return to Vietnam to find his killer.
Based on that logline, it’s obvious that Jackson will have a limited role, and I don’t even know if he’ll share any scenes with Keaton’s character — which would be a shame, because it’d be fun to watch those two play off each other. On the bright side, The Asset hails from Casino Royale director Martin Campbell and The Equalizer scribe Richard Wenk, so hopefully those two will find a way for Keaton and Jackson to share some screen time together.
Arthur Sarkissian (Rush Hour) will produce The Asset with Moshe Diamant (The Hurricane Heist) and Rob Van Norden (Rambo: Last Blood). Executive producers include Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, Jeffrey Greenstein, Jonathan Yunger, Gareth West, Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman, while Lonnie Ramati will serve as a co-executive producer. Millennium Media will begin shopping the project at AFM and production will begin on Jan. 8, 2020, with filming slated to take place in London, Bucharest, and DaNang, Vietnam.
Keaton will segue into The Asset after wrapping Aaron Sorkin‘s drama The Trial of the Chicago 7, which is currently filming in advance of its release next September. Meanwhile, Jackson will soon be seen starring opposite his MCU buddy Anthony Mackie in Apple’s original drama The Banker. He also returns for Millennium’s sequel to The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which adds Salma Hayek to the mix this time around.
Best known for her role in the Divergent franchise, Maggie Q will soon be seen in Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island, which Sony will release this coming Valentine’s Day. She’s no stranger to big action movies, having appeared in both the Mission: Impossible and Die Hard franchises. She’s represented by Untitled and ICM Partners, the latter of which also reps Keaton and Jackson, who is managed by Anonymous Content. Deadline broke the news out of AFM.
Keaton’s involvement in The Asset forced him to drop out of the John McAfee comedy King of the Jungle, which just saw Zac Efron step in for Seth Rogen.