Jason Statham steps in for Eric Bana as SAS badass Nick Stone in Echelon

While it does seem sort of criminal that Eric Bana still doesn't have a badass action movie franchise of his own, Jason Statham clearly intends to collect as many potential recurring tough guy characters as possible.

The twice-CRANKed, thrice-TRANSPORTERed, likely to be re-EXPENDABLE star is eyeballing the espionage thriller ECHELON, which previously had Bana attached as former British Special Air Service soldier Nick Stone.

The Stone character has appeared in thirteen books written by actual ex-SAS member Andy McNab, and ECHELON will be based on the novel "Firewall" (renamed to avoid confusion with the Harrison Ford non-thriller). Stuntman/second unit director Simon Crane is making his feature debut behind the camera. Crane was previously expected to make his directing debut on the videogame adaptation KANE & LYNCH.

The book's rundown (via Amazon): Nick Stone is off the Firm's regular payroll owing to a major screwup in his last assignment that left his best friend's family slaughtered--except for the one child who survived. Little Kelly needs expensive treatment for the post-traumatic stress that's turned her nearly catatonic, so Nick takes on a freelance assignment that gets him mixed up with Russian organized crime--in particular, with an enigmatic mob boss who has designs on some Finnish cybertechnology. When Nick realizes it's not industrial espionage that he's involved with but military secrets, he's caught between warring factions of the Russian Mafia and the Anglo-American alliance of intelligence agencies. The Westerners will do anything to keep the Echelon program out of the hands of Valentin Lebed--the Chechnyan Mafioso who makes Nick an offer he can't refuse--and the Maliskia, a gang of rival Russian criminals who want to derail Lebed's plans and take over Echelon themselves.

Extra Tidbit: Now let's find a kickass franchise for Bana, huh?
Source: Deadline



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